When does daylight saving time start in 2021 and how does it work?

·News Reporter
·5-min read

Daylight saving time is just around the corner, which means many Aussies will need to change their clocks as early as next Sunday.

On the first Sunday in October, which this year will be the 3rd, clocks in NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT will go forward one hour at 2am making it 3am instead.

What is daylight saving?

Daylight saving (DST) means the clocks move forward an hour, so you have more light in the summer.

During daylight saving, sunrise and sunset take place about an hour later, so Aussies can soak up the sun for longer.

Alarm clock sits on the beach at sunset. Source: Getty Images
Next Sunday, Aussies in NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT, will be setting their clocks forward an hour. Source: Getty Images

So, if you’re looking to hit the beach, or have a Covid-safe picnic with mates in the balmy weather after work, then daylight saving is the best time to do it.

In effect, daylight saving means that Australia's three standard time zones are split into five during this time.

This means Sydney and Melbourne will be an hour ahead of Brisbane, 90 minutes in front of Darwin and three hours ahead of Perth.

When does daylight saving end?

Daylight saving time remains in place for six months, which means that it will end on Sunday, April 4, 2022 at 3am (EST).

If you live in NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania or the ACT, you’ll be setting your clocks back one hour and enjoying an extra hour’s sleep that night.

But, for those in Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia, it will be business as usual.

Will my phone automatically change to daylight saving time?

Most of us will probably remember having to set alarms an hour early before the age of the smartphone, but that’s not the case today.

Most digital devices including phones, laptops, smart watches and digital clocks should automatically update when the clock ticks over to daylight saving time.

People can ensure their digital counterparts are ready to change over by making sure they are set to the correct time zone, and show the accurate time.

Woman reaches over to turn off smartphone alarm in bed. Source: Getty Images
Most digital devices including phones, laptops, smart watches and digital clocks should automatically update to daylight saving time. Source: Getty Images

However, analog clocks and non-smart devices will need to be manually updated to reflect the correct time either the next day or the night before.

So, if you’ve got your trusty smartphone handy during the night of daylight saving, you won’t need to worry about sleeping through your alarm.

Why don't all Australian states have daylight saving time?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to daylight saving, so it is up to each Australian state whether they would like to adopt it or not.

South-east Queenslanders typically support the idea of daylight saving, while those in the far north argue the summer months are far too hot to extend the day even more-so.

The matter has been a contentious issue for Queensland, and is the subject of heated debate each year as daylight saving rolls around.

People swim in near the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland. Source: Getty Images
Northern Queensland argue the summer months are far too hot to extend the day with daylight saving time. Source: Getty Images

However, last year Queensland’s premier Annastacia Palaszczuk drew a line in the sand, saying she would not move to introduce daylight saving as she didn’t want to “divide the state”.

She argued that there was not enough support for the change, with those in rural Queensland being the most opposed to daylight saving.

Why doesn't WA have daylight saving?

WA trialled daylight saving time from 2006 to 2009, but the outcome was the same as in Queensland.

At the time, one Perth man told WA Today that daylight saving "puts you in happy spirits rather than coming home in the dark," but a retired pensioner said "there was no need for WA to endure an extra hour of heat in the summer."

Western Australia’s chances of taking up daylight savings again may increase with the Daylight Savings Party winning a seat in WA's Upper House following the March state election.

The Northern Territory has never observed daylight saving time and has shared no inclination of wanting to in the future.

How will daylight saving affect my health?

Changing the clocks can result in a temporary state of misalignment in our internal biological time, or our circadian rhythm.

“Our circadian rhythms are timed to match the environmental cycle of light and darkness,” says the Sleep Health Foundation.

This misalignment is a form of jetlag, and can upset the body's rhythms. It can affect our ability to think clearly and can increase the risk of heart attacks, depression and even miscarriage.

According to Dr Elise McGlashan, research fellow at the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, Monash University, the change to daylight saving time will probably affect how much sleep people get in the days following the initial change.

“Some people might notice that with the change, they don’t sleep as long as they normally would. The clock on our phones might change right away, but the ones in our body do not,” she told Yahoo News Australia.

“There are internal clocks in nearly every tissue and system in your body, so this kind of chronic disruption can have serious health consequences.

“For this reason, scientists who study internal clocks have suggested that we should abandon daylight saving time altogether, in favour of permanent standard time."

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