One of the unpleasant side effects of long-term travel to multiple destinations is the affect travel has on one’s biological clock. While most often referred to in the context of pregnancy, the biological clock also governs one’s ability to manage sleep. Traveling over multiple time zones in a short period of time messes this up, leaving one’s body wondering whether a given moment is morning, noon, afternoon, or night. I am writing this at 5:40 a.m. I should not be writing right now; I should be in bed sleeping, getting ready for another day of fun-filled vacation. Instead, I cannot sleep, because I have so hopelessly confused my body as to what time it is at a given moment.
Over two weeks ago, we left Korea and headed to Hawai’i, a difference of -19 hours. Noon on Sunday in Korea is 7 p.m. on Saturday in Hawai’i. A couple days ago, we arrived in Seattle, entering the Pacific Standard Time Zone. We two hours ahead of Hawai’i and 17 hours behind Korea. We will stay on Pacific Time until early March, when we fly to the Eastern Time Zone and move to Virginia, three hours ahead of Seattle and 14 hours behind Korea. Someone once told me that it takes one day for each hour of time difference to fully recover from time zone changes. That may or may not be true, but when you move from one place to -19 hours for two weeks, then -17 hours for another weeks, then finally -14 hours one month later, it can be a bit brutal convincing your body to get with the program. I don’t think I will fully adjust to the time change in Seattle, but I’m positive that we will recover from the time change in Idaho when we arrive on Monday. So with that, I’ll trudge off to bed again and try to get a couple hours’ sleep. Good night!