Eric Douglas: Jet lag without leaving home

Eric Douglas sig

A few years ago, I wrote a column saying that I liked Daylight Savings Time; that I loved having more light during my waking hours.

The next day, I got a very angry email from a parent of young children. She didn’t like getting her kids up in the dark to go to school – this was the return to standard time. I try to reply to every email I get about these columns, positive or not, but I think I let that one go. I mean, I didn’t create Daylight Savings Time, I just liked what it did for my day.

This is my not-so-subtle way of reminding you that we Spring Forward this weekend, and, yes, that means you lose an hour of sleep Saturday night into Sunday.

I used to fly a lot in a previous career, jumping multiple time zones with each trip. Generally, jet lag is thought to kick in starting with a shift of two time zones or more. It’s caused by your circadian rhythms, your normal sleep and wake cycles, being out of their normal sync.

Also generally speaking, jet lag is harder on the body when you travel east compared to west. Of course, on a round trip, you are likely to do both, so it will all depend on whether you end up more jet lagged at your destination or when you get home afterward.

Typically, jet lag affects you for 18 to 24 hours for every time zone traveled – so a trip to the West Coast will have you sluggish for two to three days.

Lastly, everything I’ve ever read (and my personal experience agrees) says jet lag is harder to cope with the older you get.

This is all a long way to say that while the switch to Daylight Savings Time is only the equivalent of one time zone, we are effectively traveling east (in matters of time), so it is still normal to feel a bit sluggish the next day. Especially those of us with a few more years under our belts.

My suggestion is to not nap. Push through until bedtime — as dictated by the clock and not the sun. That should make it easier to get to sleep that night and to jump back into your routine.

Just think of it as a short trip. Imagine yourself somewhere warm and sunny. Bermuda is a time zone ahead of us. Just sayin’.

Those of you who are still complaining by next Wednesday? You probably need to look into a sleep study.

As to getting up in the dark? I still can’t do anything about that. But, hang on. It will change soon.

Eric Douglas, of Pinch, is the author of “Return to Cayman,” “Heart of the Maya,” “Cayman Cowboys,” “River Town” and other novels. He is also a columnist for Scuba Diving Magazine and a former Charleston Newspapers Metro staff writer. For more information, visit or contact him at

Funerals for Saturday, march 28, 2020

Adkins, Eugene - 1 p.m., New Bethel Baptist Church, Spurlockville.

Bee, Charles - 11 a.m., First Baptist Church, Parkersburg.

Blaylock Sr., Robert - 11 a.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

Dingess, Cheyenne - 11 a.m., Highland Memory Gardens, Godby.

Lee, William - 1 p.m., Liberty Missionary Baptist Church.

Russell, Wilma - 2 p.m., Fields Cemetery, Nettie.

Skeen, Thomas - 1 p.m., Casto Funeral Home, Evans.

Smith, David - 11 a.m., procession to leave Koontz Funeral Home, Hamlin.

Tolley, Mary - 11 a.m., Gandee Chapel / Ward Cemetery.

Young, Kathryn - Service cancelled.