What you need to know about going from daylight savings to standard time

The time change from daylight savings to standard time is coming up on Nov. 3, when we gain an hour. It always sounds great at first, but then we remember that evenings seem to come much faster, and light streams in our bedroom windows a little on the early side. It may only be an hour, but it can have a huge impact when you consider how much our bodies are affected by light. 45165506 - young man sleeping on bed with alarm on mobile phone display

Although studies show that the spring time change is a little more difficult on our bodies, going from daylight savings time to standard time still isn’t an easy adjustment.

How the time change affects your health

Our bodies (and minds, for that matter) crave routine. While we’re supposed to be getting an extra hour of sleep, the disruption of our circadian rhythm can be detrimental. Studies show that a good night’s sleep is necessary for optimal functioning of all our systems. A good night’s sleep has a profound affect on the brain, helping us to retain information and be more productive. Without it, and especially with a sudden change as will happen on Nov. 3, the incidence of stroke, heart attack, depression and even fatal road accidents goes up.

How to prepare your body for the time change

There are a number of coping mechanisms for ensuring the time change affects you as little as possible. One that most doctors agree on is making sure to continue your exercise routine. Exercise releases natural hormones that can keep time change-related depression at bay.

Sleep specialists also suggest preparing yourself by slowly adjusting the time you go to bed for a period of days before the time change. Start by moving your bedtime by 15 to 30 minutes with the hope that once standard time is here, it’ll be an easier transition.

Also, take advantage of the extra light in the morning! Instead of groggily making your way to the bathroom to start your daily routine, bask in the sunlight coming through open blinds for just a couple of minutes. The effect of light exposure is a positive one.

Other suggestions include: drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol and caffeine for a handful of hours prior to bed and resist the urge to take naps in the days following the time change.

The move back to standard time doesn’t have to control you; follow these steps to minimize the impact and stay in tip-top shape. Did you know that we also “treat” patients who are healthy and want to stay that way? About half of our patients fit this description! Go to our website to learn how even the healthy can benefit from our wellness and prevention therapies.

Take a proactive approach to your health

Portrait Of Hispanic Family In CountrysideWe need to get beyond the “feel sick, take a pill” approach to health. By taking a proactive approach, we can get healthy and feel better on our own terms without turning to drugs and expensive therapies.

Make the commitment and follow a few simple steps to feeling better on your own terms.

Quit smoking. If you don’t smoke, don’t start

This is the simplest, most straightforward way to improve your health quickly. Smoking reduces your cardiovascular performance, stresses your heart and lungs, suppresses your immune system and affects just about every other system in your body. What’s more, it has similar impacts on everyone around you, especially children, the elderly and those with weakened immune response.

The good news is that, no matter how long you have been smoking, quitting today will improve your health and extend your life expectancy.

Because smoking tobacco is so addictive, it can be hard to quit. Talk to your primary health care provider, or call us at Proactive Wellness Centers to find out how to get help.

Stay active

An active lifestyle boosts your cardiovascular system, improves bone density, boosts the functioning of every body system and even has profound impacts on your mental health. Aim for 150 minutes, or two and a half hours, of moderate physical activity every week. That’s just over 20 minutes a day, or if you prefer to chill on weekends, half an hour, five days a week.

Choose an activity you enjoy doing, and commit to doing it regularly. It doesn’t have to be a sport that takes time to organize. It can be as simple as taking a walk, playing catch with the kids, even gardening. The important thing is to set aside the time to be physically active every day.

Eat healthy

Choosing a healthy diet can be confusing. It seems that food that was considered healthy last year is scary dangerous this year, and what was bad for you yesterday is what you should be eating today.

Generally speaking, though, a few simple rules always make sense.

  • Start with lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Include nuts, too, for healthy fats.
  • Choose fresh food whenever possible. Your body actually burns more calories in digesting raw and fresh compared to processed food. Avoid highly processed and packaged choices, which often have far more salt and sugar added that you might think.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking with them to remove any pesticide residues or other foreign matter that may have gotten onto them.
  • Moderate your intake of red meat. Substitute fish, lean chicken and turkey as alternatives to beef or pork through the week.
  • Choose vegetables and fruits for snacks, avoiding highly processed, packaged sweet and salty options.
  • Don’t worry about fat. Carbohydrates, such as sugars and starches, add more to your waistline than fats.
  • Don’t bother with fad diets like keto, paleo or whatever diet celebrities are pushing. Keep it simple.

Maintain a healthy weight

The previous two tips will go a long way to helping you maintain a healthy weight. Check out your body mass index, which compares your height and weight. Try to keep your index below 25 to stay healthy.

If your BMI is over that, your weight is putting more strain on your joints, heart, lungs and cardiovascular system. Reducing by even five pounds can make your knees and back feel better.

Moderate alcohol consumption

Alcohol has longer-lasting and deeper impacts than many of us understand. While moderate consumption can help with mood and certainly is a factor in social gatherings — which are important for mental health — excessive alcohol consumption can have severe and long-lasting impacts on health.

Men should consume no more than 15 drinks per week, including beer, wine and spirits. Women should not have more than 10 drinks per week.

Protect yourself from excess sun

Wear sunscreen or sun block when you go outside, even on warm, overcast days. Wear a hat and long-sleeved shirt. Try to stay out of the sun at the brightest, hottest time of day, between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Avoid tanning booths.

Get enough sleep

Sufficient sleep is vital to the quality of your waking life, including your mood, heart health, immune system, productivity, emotional balance, brain and heart health, immune system, creativity, vitality, and even your weight.

Adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Children under 12 need as much as 10 to 13, while teens need 8 to 10 hours.

Try to avoid looking at computer screens, especially phones and tablets, just before bedtime. The light has been found to interfere with your ability to fall asleep.

See your doctor regularly

All children and adults should have regular medical checkups. — this includes young, healthy adult men. It’s far better to find problems early, when they’re easier to treat.

All adults should ask for regular checks for colon and rectal cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, and lung cancer for smokers and ex-smokers.

If you do feel ill, don’t wait to seek help. Frequent low-grade illnesses, chronic fatigue and constant aches can be signals of a deeper issue.

See your family doctor or call us at Proactive Wellness Centers, 703-822-5003, to find out how to take charge of your health.

Biggest health risks for young men

Sad moody man having a headacheStrong and capable. That’s the image many young men like to present to the world. But all too often, that image interferes with a man’s willingness to recognize he has health problems.

In fact, men often don’t make their own health a priority, according to the American Journal of Men’s Health. They don’t see their doctor for health issues as often as women do, which means they miss opportunities to treat health problems early. One result of this is that, statistically, women are healthier than men. Their average life expectancy is five years longer than the life expectancy for men.

Here are some of the leading health risks for young men in the United States today:


Trauma from injuries is the leading cause of death and disability among young people, especially due to automotive accidents. Taking away cars and roads as a factor, drowning is one of the leading causes of death among young people, and more than two-thirds of the drowning fatalities every year are male.

Ironically, swimming can have immense health benefits. The solution is education on water safety and how to swim.

Mental health

Depression is one of the leading causes of illness and death among young people. While women were once thought to be more prone to depression than men, today the thinking is that men are more likely to hide their depressed feelings.

Depression can disturb sleep, appetite, energy and performance in many activities, and even contributes to heart disease. All too often, it increases risk of suicide.

Regular exercise and good relationships with family, friends and community can have profound impacts on mood and depression.

Lung cancer

By the time lung cancer is found, it’s often so advanced that it’s difficult to cure. Less than half of men who are diagnosed with lung cancer survive a year.

Ninety percent of lung cancer is caused by tobacco smoke. While smoking rates have been falling in the United States for years, lung cancer is still the leading cancer killer in men.

Quitting smoking reduces the risk, no matter how long you’ve been smoking. Regular checkups are important for smokers and non-smokers alike.


Untreated diabetes can damage kidneys and nerves, leading to blindness, amputation, heart disease and stroke. It also reduces testosterone levels and contributes to impotence, depression and anxiety.

Unfortunately, one third of boys born in 2000 — now young adults — will develop diabetes in their lifetimes. The main contributor is excess weight are and obesity.

The best way to control diabetes is through a healthy diet and regular physical activity. Young men whose family members have diabetes should also have regular screenings from their doctors.

Heart disease

While we think of this as more of an older person’s problem, heart disease can strike at any age. High blood pressure, a main contributor to heart disease, is common in males under age 45, according to the American Heart Association. Regular checkups, avoiding smoking and controlling cholesterol can help keep your heart healthy.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that twice as many men as women have alcohol-related deaths and hospitalization. Men binge drink twice as much as women, as well.

Alcohol consumption increases the risk for cancer, interferes with testicular function, and can lead to impotence, infertility and suicide attempts.

Take charge of your health

The good news is that the younger you are, the easier it is to take charge of improving your health on your own terms. Call us at Proactive Wellness Centers today to find out how we can help you take a proactive approach to your health.

Would you know if your child was sick? Here are the signs and symptoms.

58409064_M (2)How can you tell when a child is sick, and needs to be seen by a healthcare provider? It’s a very real concern for many parents. Sometimes a child is too young to tell you when they’re ill, or don’t know yet how to tell you what’s wrong. To make matters even more complicated, symptoms can sometimes be confusing.

So, how can you tell? Sometimes the symptoms are obvious. If your child has a fever, is vomiting or has diarrhea, has a cough, a rash, or is in pain, then you’ll want to call a trusted medical provider. But sometimes the symptoms are more vague.

Here are a list of symptoms to watch for in children. Keep this list handy to consult. Is your child suffering from any of the following issues?

  • Lower than normal energy
  • New troubles with sleeping
  • Out of the ordinary fretfulness, listlessness or irritability
  • Crankiness, and you’re unable to comfort them when you usually can
  • Loss of appetite
  • If your child seems unusually flushed or pale
  • Complaints of feeling cold

These are common symptoms of illness that parents often see in young children. If you’re concerned, it’s worth checking out.

In addition to watching for the symptoms on the list, we also recommend that you trust your instincts. For the most part, if your child is eating, sleeping and playing normally then all is likely to be well. You know your child, and what is likely to be normal for them. But if your child is acting differently than is usual for them, then it’s wise to look for causes and try to determine if they are ill or dealing with a new issue.

Here are some things that can cause new, unusual issues in a child’s behavior and health. If you think any of the following might be an issue, then it’s a good idea to talk with your healthcare provider:

  • Mold in the home
  • Evidence of allergies
  • Food intolerances
  • Other environmental irritants, such as lead
  • Possible parasitic or other infection due to exposure on a trip or outing, or due to pets in the home

You’ll want to make sure to find a health care provider that’s open to reviewing all holistic factors, to make sure you don’t miss underlying issues. You want to take into consideration all factors, including environmental risks and new situations that might have uncovered an issue for your child.

If you’re concerned about your child and want to try a holistic, integrative approach to taking care of the health of your family please don’t hesitate to reach reach out to us. Visit us online to learn more and feel free to reach out with any questions.