Q: I know some people need to take a support animal with them when they fly. But I had to get off an airplane this summer because I spotted an emotional support cat not far from my seat, and I have allergic asthma. What's being done to make this work better? — Anna F., Sacramento, California
A: Complaints about emotional support animals have been flooding the Department of Transportation and the airlines this year. The industry trade organization Airlines for America has sounded an alarm, saying: "With over a million passengers bringing ESAs on flights last year, airlines and airports saw a sharp increase in incidents such as biting and mauling by untrained animals." It's caused the Association of Flight Attendants to push the DOT to strengthen ESA standards.
As a result the DOT has taken steps recently to clarify and strengthen ESA guidelines. Today, if you bring an ESA with you, the airline has the right to see documentation to show that a passenger needs an ESA and that the "animal's training or behavior" does not pose a threat to other passengers. Delta bans pit bulls in the cabin and any ESA on any flight longer than eight hours, as does United. The DOT also stated that the airlines can make passengers demonstrate before a long flight that their animal can relieve itself in a sanitary way and furnish proof of proper vaccinations.
It's important to note that legitimate ESAs really do comfort their owners, whether it's in the air or on the ground. But you have rights when you travel too, Anna. So next time you fly, call the airline ahead of time and alert them to your cat allergy. They should accommodate you and find you a flight without ESAs on board. Also, bring your rescue inhaler with you at all times!
Q: I am tired all the time and can't seem to get anything done. I know it's because I go to bed too late. What's the best way to start getting to bed earlier? — Travis R., Austin, Texas
A: When your sleep cycle is thrown off and you're constantly sleep-deprived, it can cause a lack of focus and energy, and increase your risk for everything from metabolic disorders like diabetes to some forms of cancer.
One recent study from Stony Brook University that had us smiling analyzed player performance in the NBA following late-night tweets. Researchers hauled down game statistics for 112 verified Twitter-using NBA players and found that the shooting percentage of those who posted late-night tweets dropped 1.7% in the next day's game. The tweeting players also scored 1.1 fewer points and 0.5 fewer rebounds. (We're guessing an electronic device or two are keeping you up late too.)
A second study published in Sleep Medicine sets out a pretty clear way to change your sleep cycle and enjoy a better quality of life. The researchers found that when night owls changed their sleep patterns for three weeks, so they hit the hay around two or three hours earlier and got up two to three hours earlier, they became less depressed, less stressed and reported that they significantly improved their "cognitive and physical performance." What worked to shift their clock — and mood — should work for you too, Travis.
Eat breakfast soon after waking up.
Make sure you get lots of natural light in the morning.
Have lunch at the same time every day and have a light dinner as early as possible (never after 7 p.m.).
Stick with the same schedule on weekends.
We advise you to keep all digital devices out of the bedroom, get 30 minutes of exercise a day at a minimum and do at least five minutes of deep breathing exercises and mindful meditation (instructions at Sharecare.com). Let us know how you do!
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Email your health and wellness questions to Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen at youdocsdaily(at sign)sharecare.com.
(c)2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.