Flying east can be

worse for jet lag

Jet lag is a disruption when we travel of circadian rhythms that regulate our body clocks. When we are jet-lagged, we want to sleep and eat at the times that are inappropriate to where we have landed.

Flying east is more difficult, said Dr. Herbert L. DuPont, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston. “As a general rule you are going to take a day for every [time zone] you cross to become acclimated.”

If you’re going to take medication to sleep, it’s important that you are sleeping at the time that you would be sleeping at your destination. It may work better to take the medication at bedtime after you arrive.

If it’s daytime when you arrive, “the very best thing to do is to get out in sunlight as soon as you arrive, not go into a dark room and go to bed,” DuPont said. “You need to reprogram that circadian rhythm.”

You may try to get on the local schedule before you leave, said Daryal Mark, author of Jet Lag Relief: It’s About Time, changing your bedtime and meal times to the destination’s.

— Catharine Hamm

Los Angeles Times

Hints from Heloise:

Old trophies get life through recycling

Dear Readers: A reader wrote in asking what she could do with her kids’ old trophies. Your suggestions:

Brady in Texas: “My brother was a teacher at a school for very at-risk students. He’d spend all year gathering and putting new life into old baseball mitts and trophies. In the spring, he would organize a softball tournament for the students. He told me those trophies were the only thing most of those kids had ever won.”

Sherry in Virginia: “We donated a lot of ours (we are a bowling family) to the local VA hospital. The nameplates were changed and given to the veterans who participated in their bowling tournament.”

Nancy in Alabama: “I set up a photo shoot for my daughter’s trophies and took a close-up shot of each one. Then I pried off the nameplate and took the trophies to the local Girls Club. I made a CD of the photos for my daughter. Everyone was happy.”

A Reader, via email: “I’m an awards dealer, and we welcome old trophies. Too often, youth groups have low budgets. We like to see every child get something.”

— King Features Syndicate

Books that make

you feel better

A good book is good medicine. This is the message that comes to us from British health professionals, reiterated recently by the U.K.’s leading librarians.

In the wake of a study showing that “self-help reading can help people with common mental health conditions,” the Society of Chief Librarians and the nonprofit Reading Agency came up with a list of 27 books to make you feel better (http://readingagency.org.uk/; click on Reading Well).

Most of the books are not “self-help” books, but works of fiction, history and memoir that have strong literary qualities and that are hopeful in their portrayal of the human condition.

There is, for example, Bill Bryson’s travelogue through the U.K., Notes From a Small Island, Armistead Maupin’s collection of novels Tales of the City, and Salman Rushdie’s children’s book Haroun and the Sea of Stories.

— Hector Tobar

Los Angeles Times