Mental Health

Daylight Saving Time: 5 Tips for Falling Back

Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends this Sunday, November 6 at 2 a.m. ET.

A one-hour time difference may not seem like much, but it’s enough to throw off our internal body clocks for days. The return to Standard Time can temporarily affect our mood and wellbeing, especially if you have a psychiatric or mental health condition. 

Get ahead of falling back this weekend with these 5 tactics:

Turn your clocks back the night before. Don’t wait until Sunday afternoon to change your clocks! Set your car, oven, microwave, and alarm clocks back one hour on Saturday night so you wake up feeling better aligned with the change. If you wait until after you wake up on Sunday to switch, you’ll make the adjustment more noticeable—and more difficult!

Sleep in a dark, cool room with no distractions. Temperature and brightness have a greater effect on sleep hygiene than you may realize. Body temperature naturally falls in the evening to help prepare your body for sleep, so keep your bedroom on the colder side to trick your system into falling asleep faster. 

Light is another factor that affects your sleep schedule and internal body clock. A darker room makes it easier to fall asleep, so don’t let bright lamps, uncovered windows, or excessive screentime stand in the way of a good night’s rest. 

Avoid caffeine late in the day. Caffeine is a stimulant, and the effects linger in your system for longer than you think. The amount of caffeine in an afternoon cappuccino can affect you for more than 6 hours after consumption, according to The National Sleep Foundation! Skip that late-afternoon coffee or soda and try an herbal or decaffeinated tea instead to help prepare your mind and body for sleep.

Stick to a schedule. We are creatures of habit. A consistent sleep schedule and an evening ritual can help your body recognize when it’s time to start winding down. Set an intention in the evening to get a good night’s rest, then block off 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep, uninterrupted. A relaxing nightly activity like yoga, meditation, journaling, or even a skincare regimen can quiet your mind and serve as a signal that it’s time to head to bed. 

Soak up some sunshine. Get outside for a walk on Sunday morning to better align yourself with the transition to Standard Time. Sunlight and exercise can also boost serotonin, improving your mood and helping combat the potential effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder

These small changes can help you optimize your sleep habits and better support your mental health as the seasons changeespecially if you struggle with conditions like anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, dementia, and more.