With daylight saving set to kick in this weekend, many Aussies stand to lose more than just an hour of their day, with experts warning that many could be in for a week of mass fatigue.
In NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, South Australia the ACT, Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) will kick in from 1.59am on October 1, with the 2am hour being skipped altogether.
Evidence suggests the time jump can often cause tiredness and distress during the first week.
Why can daylight saving affect our sleep?
According to Flinders University sleep experts Emeritus Professor Leon Lack and Dr Gorica Micic, the shift in time can cause sleep problems, particularly for “owls” or “evening types”.
Given most people’s body clocks move a little slower than the 24-hour rotation of the earth, which determines our 24-hour light/dark cycle, the majority of us tend to delay bed and wake times.
This is particularly true when given the chance on weekends, even more so for evening types.
Night owls are one category of circadian types, which classify individuals based on their body’s natural preferences for wakefulness and sleep.
These “owls” are more active in the evening and struggle to wake up early, preferring to get up late when the opportunity arises which can in turn cause a body clock delay of 10-20 minutes with each sleep-in.
“Come Sunday night and it becomes difficult with a delayed body clock to get to sleep early enough to get enough sleep by Monday wake-up time with a loss of sleep on Sunday night,” Prof Lack and Dr Micic explained.
“Our research has shown that this results in shorter sleeps on Sunday and Monday nights and more tiredness on Monday and Tuesday and may contribute to the typical Monday morning ‘blues’.”
How to avoid fatigue and distress during the transition
With less than one week to go, these experts share their 10 recommendations to help ensure those in the country’s southeast move into daylight saving refreshed and rested.
- Wake incrementally 15-20 minutes earlier from Thursday to Saturday, facilitating an easier one-hour transition on Sunday.
- Avoid sleeping in later than usual on the weekend and even set an alarm to guarantee an earlier wake time.
- Get some sunshine as soon as you wake up on Sunday and Monday to help align your body clock — go for a walk or hang out with friends outside but do not wear sunglasses for the first 2-3 hours you are in the sun.
- Go to bed earlier incrementally in the days leading up to daylight saving, aiming to sleep almost an hour earlier than normal on Saturday night — try and avoid intense light exposure 2-3 hours before bed.
- Avoid caffeine in the second half of the day leading up to Sunday.
- Drink tea or coffee in the mornings to help get into the sunshine earlier.
- Do not procrastinate or stay out late in the days leading up to the shift, and try to maintain a good sleep schedule.
- Avoid exercising before bed.
- Keep your weekend schedule light and avoid long or dangerous drives as you may be feeling increased feelings of sleepiness.
- Following the transition, take a short 10-minute nap around lunchtime if feeling sleepy.
Daylight saving time zones
Come October 1 NSW, the ACT, Victoria and Tasmania will move forward one hour and will be on AEDT.
SA will move forward by an hour and will be on Australian Central Daylight Time (ACDT).
Norfolk Island will move forward by two hours and will be on Norfolk Island Daylight Time (NFDT).
Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia do not have daylight saving and people in those states do not need to change their clocks at all.
Their respective time zones are Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), Australian Central Standard Time (ACST), and Australian Western Standard Time (AWST).
Christmas Island and the Cocos (or Keeling) Islands also do not observe daylight saving.
What do I need to do?
Most clocks or devices with clocks that are linked to technology, such as phones and computers, will automatically adjust to the correct daylight saving time overnight on October 1.
Analog clocks and older technology, however, such as on ovens and microwaves, may need to have their time adjusted manually.
Daylight saving will end on Sunday, April 7, 2024.