Monday, August 31, 2009


People have told me that the time adjustment from China to America is harder than going from America to China. It seems to me that going forward eleven hours or back thirteen is pretty much the same. I'm not sure why one would be significantly more difficult than another. But I have heard such is the case.

If anybody knows anything about this or has an opinion about why, I'd be curious to hear it. I'd like to do a Google search on time zone switching, but am not really sure what terms to search for.

All I do know at the moment is that I slept two hours last night and am completely screwed up time-wise. Qian is doing a bit better than I am, but she's not doing that well really. The first couple days were actually quite smooth, but the past couple have been rough.

My goal today is to not take a nap no matter how much I want to. I took a 3.5 hour nap yesterday. That wasn't a good idea.

Despite sleep problems, everything is going really well so far. We watched the DVD of our Chinese wedding ceremony with my brother and parents on Friday night, went out for dinner and drinks with my friends on Saturday night, and had a cousin/aunt/uncle family taco night (25 people total) last night.

Qian is doing really well with names surprisingly. She pretty much had all 25 people straight last night.

People have been really impressed with her English level. My friend Luke told me that she already has a Kansas accent (or, one could say, the General American accent). While I've been frustrated by our lack of use of Chinese in day-to-day life in China (and my lack of fluency in Chinese), I believe our English-based relationship is now paying dividends for Qian.

This week should be cool. We have a wedding to plan and such. Although tedious, it should be fun.


Anonymous said...

Ok, I'm an expert in this department. Let me give you some advice.

I work in the casino business (a 24 hour business) and have had to go from swing to grave to day many times when I've changed jobs and its basically the same thing your going through.

First off, do NOT take a sleeping aid. Its tempting to do this but it will only delay you getting over the problem.

Avoid taking naps, like you said. It can be a struggle, but try and avoid it. Sleep only during the time you are scheduling it for.

Avoid caffeine as much as possible. Even after it has run its course, caffeine is still proven to give people a hard time sleeping. And certainly no caffeine (sodas) near your scheduled bedtime.

And most importantly, don't force it. Don't get frustrated and lay in bed staring at the clock or the ceiling. If you can't sleep, look at it as extra time and get out of bed and do something you enjoy like watching a movie or reading.

Follow these steps and I guarantee you will be in a rythm in no time. I've been there many a time, and it SUCKS!!! but just take it in stride, don't get frustrated about it, and poof, you'll be in a rhythm soon.

Mark said...

Thanks for the advice, Hopfrog.

You're 100% right on naps. That's what did us in yesterday. We woke up real early and then slept from 10:30AM to 1:30PM. That completely screwed us.

I really shouldn't have a morning coffee? I'm not sure I can go without! Particularly during this fatigued time.

What about Melatonin as a sleeping aid? As far as I understand, it's a "supplement" and not a "sleeping pill" (not sure the difference... in my mind, it's a chemical naturally produced in our brains as opposed to narcotics or harder sleeping pills). I've been figuring that it'd be OK to take and was actually planning on taking one tonight.

andy said...

Never tried it, but it has a good basis.


Ramesh said...

Having done the China-US trips many times, I know exactly what you are feeling. All of what Hopfrog said is very true - especially the no sleeping aid bit (pill /supplement/whatever). You just have to wait for it to "go away" - it may have already gone by now.

Would love to hear Qian's first impressions in the US - this is her first visit right. Would she do a "guest post". Maybe this is a thought for the future, Mark's China Blog becaomes Qian's US blog !

Mark said...

I didn't take any Melatonin or anything last night and slept for nine hours! Woo hoo! I actually feel pretty rested right now. Hopefully it'll continue.

I'll encourage Qian to write something, Ramesh. A guest post here would be great. She's also, hopefully, going to get a blog going on or something soon. If/when she gets her own blog set up, I'll be sure to let people here know about it.

The Tao said...

As a Kansan in Beijing who's cited that Wikipedia article on "General American" more than once, I say to you: bravo.