A change in time zones is kicking my ass

Moved from Pacific time to Eastern time, so a shift of three hours. The first little bit was okay because I wasn’t going to work. The first week back at work I seemed to have been running on adrenaline. Now I’m on my third week back and I feel like I am completely out of synch with the time zone. I feel like I’m getting up in the middle of the night and trying to go to bed in the early evening.

Is there anything to do but hold on and wait? Shouldn’t this be better by now?

After three weeks it’s not a timezone problem.

A time shift of three hours should rarely be a problem. But even if it is, it’s a problem that your body takes care of with one night of good sleep.

On the other hand, a time shift of 12 hours is a bitch…Night and day get reversed, and your body may take a full week to adjust.

After three weeks, please be honest with yourself…There seems to be a problem, but it is not due to time zones.

After so long, it is not a time zone problem. I moved 9 time zones (westbound) on Tuesday. Last night, I went to bed at 7:30pm here, got up at 1:00am and went out for lunch (very happy that Nevada is a 24-hour kind of place). At 4am I went back to bed and just got up.

With only three time zones, one night resets everything.

Hmm. I’ve never been someone who adjusts well to time changes, whether for daylight saving time or changes in time zones.

But, it could be something else, I guess. I wasn’t having this problem in LA and I’m having it now in MD, and I seem to be off by about the right amount of time, so the time change was the most obvious culprit. I’ll explore further.

jsgoddess - I have to disagree with the other posters. For some people, time zone changes can can have a longterm effect. I’m not talking about jet lag, the immediate effect that resolves within a few days. I’m talking about internal rhythms that are set a certain way and don’t change just because the clock does.

I had a similar issue when my hours were changed at work, and even though I moved my bedtime and the time I got up in the morning, and tried to stick to a strict schedule, I struggled terribly for several years. I was always staying up too late, not able to get up in the morning, feeling tired all the time, etc. I ultimately had to set my set my clocks off of real time, as well as changing a number of other behaviors and substantially reordering my life in order to get to a place where I was comfortable with the new schedule.

I wish I had better advice for you, but it can be a long slow process. I would start looking at what seem to be your most problematic times and see if there is anything you can adjust. Can you change your morning or evening routine to work better with the new times? Adjust mealtimes or exercise times? Do something different when you get home from work or before bed?

Those people who can adjust in a day or two are very lucky. Not all of us are built that way. I wish you luck in finding a new plan that works for you.

I think it’s finally mostly resolved itself. I’m not feeling like it’s the middle of the night each morning now.

Thanks for the encouraging words!

Usually in my experience, going “forward” in time zones (i.e. East), is harder to adjust to than going backward. This is because going backward is more a matter of going to sleep and then sleeping in until you’re where you want to wake up, while going forward means that you lose time, and you end up having to stay up a lot later to get a reasonable bedtime.

The classic one for me is leaving Texas in the early evening, flying 7-8 hours to London, and getting there at what to my body feels like 1 or 2 in the morning, and it’s bright and early 7 am there. The smart thing to do in that situation is just power through and stay up until 9 or 10 pm local time, then crash, sleep until 7-8 the following morning, and wake up. It seems to help me to either be up at dawn or at sunset after a lot of sunlight during the day as well.

Even at that, it takes several days to adjust, and you still may wake up at 3 am for a few minutes for a while after that.

When I had a mobile home–two decades ago–they moved it to a different lot in the park and, I swear, the sun coming in through different windows at different times of the day messed me up for a few months.

In addition to moving east you’ve also moved a few hundred miles north which is going to change sunrise and sunset times. For example, today sunrise in LA is 6:46 and in Baltimore it’s 7:01.