Geriatrician, Hospitalist, Patient Advocate, Healthcare Educator

Navigating Daylight Savings Time


Daylight saving time is the practice of setting clocks forward one hour in the spring to make better use of natural daylight during the summer months…and then the time is set back one hour in the fall. Daylight saving time begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.

Losing that one hour of sleep can have consequences:

  • The risk of heart attack increases in the first 3 weekdays after switching to daylight savings in the spring according to a Swedish study. The American Heart Association also points to studies that suggest an increase in heart attacks on the Monday after daylight saving time begins and in strokes for two days afterward.
  • Increase in traffic accidents on the Monday following start of daylight savings
  • Increase in workplace injuries on the Monday following the start of daylight savings

Tips to prevent negative consequences:

  • Try to head to sleep earlier around 2 days before dayight savings kicks in. This will make it easier to get up Monday morning and prevent feeling tired.
  • Move up daily routines such as dinner time or work-out/excercise time a few days before
  • Get your morning sunshine-this will help jump start alertness and help in adjusting your body’s internal clock
  • Eat a healthy breakfast to tell your body it’s time to start the day
  • Do not use caffeine to compensate for feeling tired

See Your Life Better

Per Tali Sharot and Cass R. Sunstein in Time “Your Life Is Better Than You Think”.

“The undeniable popularity of self-help books, wellness podcasts, and happiness workshops reflects the constant human desire to make life better. But could it be that many of our lives are already better than we recognize?

While we may have a loving family, a good place to live, and a decent job, we often fail to notice those things. It’s not because we are ungrateful or stupid. It’s because of a basic feature of our brain, known as habituation.

Habituation is the tendency of neurons to fire less and less in response to things that are constant. You enter a room filled with roses and after a short while, you cannot detect their scent any longer. And just as you get used to the smell of fresh flowers, you also get used to a loving relationship, to a promotion, to a nice home, to a dazzling work of art.

Like the front page of a daily newspaper, your brain cares about what recently changed, not about what remained the same. And so, what once took your breath away becomes part of life’s furniture. You habituate to it—you fail to notice and respond to elements of your life which you previously found enchanting.

….A delicate balance must be struck here. On the one hand, without habituation (and dare we say some boredom, restlessness, and greed), we might have remained mere cave dwellers. But on the other hand, habituation can lead us to be unsatisfied, bored, restless, and greedy. Perhaps then, rather than focusing completely on how to better our life we need to also learn how to see our life better—to notice the great things we have habituated to a little bit more. “

This is a great reminder that “Your life is better than you think”. Although it is good to strive to be better, it is also important to take note of your everyday “routine life” and be appreciative of things you take for granted….be it your family, a home, a career, an amazing view, etc.

Cherries Have Health Benefits

Photo by Quaritsch Photography

February is National Cherry Month as well as Heart Month making it a good time to showcase this rounded slightly heart shaped tiny fruit and the many health benefits it offers.

Nutrient facts of 1 cup or about 20 cherries on an average:

  • Calories-90
  • Protein-1.5 grams
  • Fiber-3 grams
  • Carbohydrates-22 grams
  • Sugar-17 grams
  • Sodium-0 mg
  • Cholesterol-0 mg
  • Vitamin C -9.7 mg
  • Potassium-300 mg
  • Calcium-17.9 mg
  • Magnesium-15.2 mg
  • Copper-0.08 mg

Benefits of cherries:

  • Heart healthy as it contains potassium and polyphenol antioxidants which help reduce blood pressure, protect against cellular damage, reduce inflammation, and reduce risk of heart disease
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Helps reduce cholesterol
  • Reduces inflammation(which helps in arthritis)
  • Rich in antioxidants(anthocyanins which imparts deep red color of cherries, polyphenols, beta-carotene, vitamin C) so reduces oxidative stress
  • Improves blood sugar as has a low glycemic index
  • Improves quality of sleep due to anti-inflammatory compounds, melatonin which regulates sleep-wake cycle, and serotonin which makes melatonin
  • Reduces exercise-induced muscle soreness due to anti-inflammatory effect and helps in recovery

Cherries are versatile and can be used as an addition to a nutritious diet. You can eat them as a snack, in a smoothie, add them to your salad, yogurt, or oatmeal, or enjoy in a savory dessert.

Prioritizing Work-life Balance

Per Lauren Edmonds in Business Insider “American hustle culture is dying. Millennials are willing to take a 20% pay cut for a better work-life balance.”.

“American millennials are over hustle culture.

Ford’s 2024 trends survey, which conducted 16,086 online interviews in 16 countries, found that millennials in the United States were ready to step back from their desks.

About 60% of surveyed American millennials said they would take a 20% pay cut “to achieve a lifestyle that prioritizes my quality of life,” which is 5% more than the global average.

US millennials were the most willing among their generational cohorts. Just 33% of Baby Boomers were willing to take that salary cut, while 43% of Gen X and 56% of Gen Z agreed."

This survey shows that US millennials have gotten something right. The United States is the most overworked developed nation and we need to start looking at achieving a better work-life balance.

Benefits of Practicing Gratitude

Photo by Gabrielle Henderson

Expressing gratitude for the things we have in our lives be it material things, relationships, careers, family and more, can have a positive impact in our lives in general. It allows us to appreciate and value what we have instead of focusing on what we do not have.

Research has shown that practicing gratitude has physical as well as emotional and mental benefits:

  • decreases stress and depression
  • lowers levels of stress hormone(cortisol)
  • Lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure
  • associated with healthier eating and decreased dietary fat intake
  • helps you sleep better
  • helps make stronger social connections
  • decreases inflammation markers
  • motivates you to exercise
  • strengthens immune system
  • improves pain tolerance
  • helps keep glucose under control
  • improves overall well-being
  • boosts self-confidence
  • makes you more optimistic

How to practice gratitude

  • keep a gratitude journal-gratitude journaling has become popular and is an outlet to physically write down all the things we have to be thankful for. But remember, you don’t necessarily have to write….you can sketch, paint, photograph, whatever works for you
  • write thank you notes or mentally thank someone
  • pray
  • meditate
  • count your blessings
  • perform acts of kindness-volunteer, pick up liter, pay kindness forward

The Health Benefits of Having Soup

Photo by Irina

It’s cold and chilly out there, and what better than enjoying a nice steamy bowl of soup during the winter months. Soup can be used as starter or even as a main meal. It is prepared in a way that preserves nutritional value so you are getting in a good amount of vitamins, minerals, and proteins.

Benefits of soups:

  • A good way to get in your veggies-you can just about place any type of vegetable in, fresh or frozen
  • Easy to prepare especially if using the instant pot or a slow cooker
  • Provides good hydration and a feeling of satiety
  • A good way to maintain or even lose weight-a bowl of soup can make you feel full and cut back on eating a bigger meal with it or eating junk food
  • High in protein and fiber-allows you to add in vegetables, legumes, and grains
  • Leftovers can be frozen and enjoyed later
  • Helps your immunity-soups are loaded with nutrients such as garlic, onions, carrots, celery, that have been shown to fight off infections
  • The hot liquid of soup can help soothe a sore throat when sick
  • Helps practice mindful eating as you sip soup slowly, allowing you to savor the contents

What to watch out for:

  • Be careful of things that can increase the calorie and sodium content of your soup such as condiments, thickening agents(such as heavy cream, cheese), and instant or canned soups(have high sodium content)
  • use salt in moderation, add in other flavoring agents such as garlic, basil, oregano, onion powder, etc to get that flavor

January marks National Soup Month so pull out your favorite soup recipes and try out some new ones to savor and add to your cookbook!

Does a Soda Tax Work?

Per Steven Ross Johnson in US News “How ‘Soda Taxes’ Could Fuel Better Health”.

“In an analysis published in JAMA Health Forum, researchers examined changes in the prices and purchases of sugary drinks sold in retail stores in Boulder, Colorado; Philadelphia; Oakland, California; San Francisco; and Seattle from 2012 to 2020. Excise taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages were implemented in Boulder, Oakland and Philadelphia in 2017, according to the study, and in San Francisco and Seattle in 2018, with amounts ranging from 1 cent to 2 cents per ounce.

Researchers calculated that the prices of these drinks rose by an overall average of 33% in those cities in the two years after the taxes went into effect, or by 1.3 cents per ounce. Meanwhile, the volume in ounces of sugary drinks purchased during the same period decreased by 33%."

This study showed that with the soda tax, prices went up by 33% and sales dropped by the same….33%. The ill effects of sugar is well known and it shows tht the tax did have some effect in reducing consumption of these sugary drinks.

Make It Past Quitters Day

Most of our new year resolutions are over-ambitious. And then LIFE happens.

in 2019, Strava, a social network for athletes, discovered that 80% of resolution-makers give up on their new year resolutions on the second Friday of January, a day known as “Quitters day”.

So, how to prevent falling off the wagon?

  • Don’t give up
  • Revisit your goals-sometimes we make too many and over do it. Prioritize what is important.
  • Revise your resolutions-for example, if the plan was a work out for an hour a day, decrease it to 30 minutes a day
  • Work on making small consistent changes instead of a big change
  • Accept support from friends and family to stay focused on your goals
  • Celebrate your small achievements to stay motivated
  • Acknowledge your slip-ups-if you skip a work out or eat an unhealthy meal, acknowledge it and work on doing better in the future

Remember that your new year resolutions are not just for January but for the whole year. Work on making small changes to build better habits for the long run.

Encourage Your Loved Ones to Do Better

With the beginning of the New Year and all those New Year Resolutions that we have been working on…it is important to stay motivated, encourage yourself and your loved ones to keep at it. Small steps can make a big difference over time.