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Daylight Saving Time: 5 sleep mistakes to avoid, according to an expert

These expert-approved picks can help you improve your sleep quality after Daylight Saving Time ends.

High angle shot of a beautiful young woman sleeping in her bed at home during the night daylight savings time
Don't make these sleep mistakes following the Daylight Saving Time change. (Getty Images)

As the seasons shift and the days grow shorter, we find ourselves on the brink of that familiar annual ritual — turning back the clock for Daylight Saving Time. While this extra hour of sleep can be a welcome respite, the transition can disrupt our internal clocks and leave us yearning for quality rest.

Quick Overview

Leading up to this year's time change on Nov. 5, we spoke with Talia Shapero, a certified Integrative Adult Sleep Coach, about how you can improve your sleep quality in spite of the time change.

Ahead, find her recommendations to help you capitalize on your Zzzs (or at least help you look rested as you adjust).

Sleep mistake no.1: Using the wrong lighting

When it comes to regulating your circadian rhythm, light can play a huge role in the quality of our sleep. Shapero notes that when transitioning between times, such as during Daylight Saving Time shifts or while travelling, our body’s clock can get out of sync.

In the morning, she recommends turning lights on full blast to help us wake up, especially when the weather outside might not be bright and sunny in the winter months. Similarly, as the day winds down, we should focus on dimming our lights in line with the sun setting.

We should even be weary of any lights that are around us while we sleep; things like night lights can actually hinder transitions between sleep cycles, reducing the quality of sleep. Even nearby streetlights can have an impact on our sleep, says Shapero, citing why she herself uses a silk eyemask to block out the light streaming in her windows.

An eye mask can help block out artificial light and improve your sleep quality. 

$14 at Amazon

Sleep mistake no. 2: Ignoring your bedtime routine

Our brains really benefit from a nightly routine, as it provides a repetitive cue to help prepare our bodies to go to sleep. In fact, going to sleep should be a gradual, transitional process as opposed to an immediate event.

“I always tell people, ‘Going to sleep is like landing a plane.’”Talia Shapero

In order to metaphorically land the plane, it's best to prepare ourselves by creating a ritual that we can follow each night.

To do this, Shapero recommends splitting your allotted time (which can be as little as 30 minutes) into three parts: part one being chores or organizational tasks, part two being personal hygiene, and part three being a relaxing activity to induce sleep.

For people who need help with mindfulness and meditation, Shapero recommends the Headspace app, a particularly well-known wellness resource. She cites that the app has an exceptional variety of guided practices that can be suited to whatever you are looking for.

Enjoy a year of guided meditation and sleep sounds with the Headspace app. 

$90 at Headspace

Sleep mistake no. 3: Not engaging your senses

Before bed, are you engaging all of your senses in order to create a relaxing environment? That includes low lighting, soft bedding and even scents.

Certain essential oils, like lavender and chamomile, are known for their calming and stress-reducing properties. Inhaling these fragrances as you drift off to sleep can help relax the mind and body, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.

Aromatherapy diffusers can have a positive impact on sleep by dispersing these soothing essential oils into the air, creating a tranquil sleep environment. They not only promote better sleep quality but also enhance the overall sleep experience, allowing individuals to wake up feeling more rested and rejuvenated. Plus, they can also be used during the day to fill your space with moisture and incredible scents.

This essential oil diffuser adds moisture and fragrance to your space. 

$78 at Saje

Sleep mistake no. 4: Relying on melatonin

Shapero doesn’t recommend relying too heavily on products to help us sleep, and instead suggests identifying the root causes of sleep issues. However, there are some ways we can help our body into these cycles and ways to promote a healthy sleep routine.

Supplements can be helpful in regulating your sleep cycle over time and can help your body get the most out of your night’s rest. Ingredients like chamomile can be helpful for inducing sleep, and valerian root can be beneficial in calming the nervous system.

However, when it comes to sleep supplements, there are plenty of myths out there — particularly surrounding melatonin. According to Shapero, the popular ingredient in sleep aids is a sleep regulator, not a sleep initiator. That means it doesn’t help your body fall asleep, but instead helps tell your body what time of day it is.

She points out that while it can be beneficial for some, most people are using it improperly which can lead to a negative result. Many are taking incorrect dosages at the incorrect time and as a result, they wind up feeling groggy in the morning or can experience headaches and nausea.

This supplement promotes restful and uninterrupted sleep without the use of melatonin.

$55 at Arrae

Sleep mistake no. 5: Drinking your caffeine

Caffeine is a natural antioxidant derived from coffee and provides oxidative protection from environmental stressors. While you can always go the common method and drink it, caffeine is also an effective skincare ingredient for tired skin.

In the short term, caffeine-infused eye creams can be a saviour to help you appear brighter and more well-rested. By using it under the eyes, it can help reduce the appearance of dark circles and reduce puffiness for instant impact.

Caffeine creams can also provide a gentle stimulating effect, which can help combat the grogginess and fatigue that often accompanies disrupted sleep patterns. By applying caffeine eye cream, individuals can visibly rejuvenate their eye area, giving the impression of a well-rested appearance — even during the challenging days following a time change.

This caffeine eye cream helps refresh tired eyes. 

$15 at Sephora

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