Do you need to wait up to change your clock?

This Sunday, March 11, Daylight Savings Time (DST) goes into effect at 2 AM. Even in the days when I thought “later was better,” I was never a proponent of waiting until that hour to change the clocks. As long as you started Sunday activities at the right time, it really did not seem to matter.

But some have a different opinion about the impact of the time change on the body. An article from Mail Onlne discusses a study out of the University of Alabama where scientists have discovered that the abrupt change to a person’s daily schedule increases the risk of heart attack. They noted that threat is greatest on Monday morning when you force your body to get up to go to work an hour earlier than its previous normal.  Though they haven’t proved a definitive cause and effect correlation between DST and heart attack, you may consider their suggestions helpful as preventative measures. 

  1. Get up 30 minutes earlier on Saturday and Sunday – think of it as (bed) spring training.
  2. Eat a nutritious breakfast – can’t go wrong on this one any time of the year.
  3. Go outdoors early in the day and soak in those rays of sunshine – this is a good way to boost your consumption of vitamin D as well.
  4. Exercise in the mornings over the weekend – this will help you to go to sleep when retiring earlier on Saturday and Sunday evenings.

While scientists debate the issue, you may want to err on the side of caution by sleeping in on Monday morning. I doubt your boss will buy it, but after all, your health is important. 

Bottom line:  Before you go to bed on Saturday night, move your clocks ahead an hour (spring forward).  Otherwise, you’ll be late for everything until November 4 when they change back to standard time.

Need an Rx for good health?

If you sit in front of a computer most of the day, work in a high stress environment, and battle high blood pressure, throw your head back and laugh. Seriously, scientists are exploring the positive effects of laughter on these and other conditions impacting our health and wellbeing.  Good hearted hilarity provokes the body to shake and gesture especially in the area of the abdomen.  (I wonder if this is what they mean by belly laugh.) The resulting endorphins will melt away the pounds.  Obviously you have to do it for 20 minutes or more, but this is my kind of exercise.  

In addition, consistent chuckling increases the production of cortisol, a hormone to help the body defend itself against stress.  Some studies have found that laughter actually improves your immune system and helps you fight disease.  

You can even overcome fear by countering it with an enthusiastic case of the giggles.  If you have any doubts, check out how this baby does it.