This coming weekend, nearly everyone in Australia will switch from standard time to daylight saving time. Sadly, the proposal to keep us in the same time zone year-round never went anywhere, so we’ll keep having these “spring forward” and “fall back” events for the foreseeable future. Here’s how to get ready.
Know when and how the clocks will change
Officially, daylight saving time will begin at 2 a.m. the morning of Sunday, October 1. At that time, we’ll change the clocks to say 3 a.m., thereby losing an hour (since the hour between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. never happens). If you’re wondering “Why 2 a.m.?” it’s reportedly because that was a dead spot in the railway schedule back when railroads were influential in nationwide timekeeping.
In the olden days, you had to know to change the clocks before you went to bed Saturday night (or when you woke up Sunday morning). These days, most of our devices will update automatically while we sleep. You just need to be aware the change is happening, so that you aren’t wondering why you slept an hour “late” or, alternately, why you got up with your alarm yet still feel underslept. (You’ll probably still need to set a few clocks anyway, like the one on your microwave.) Set a reminder now, if you think you’ll need one.
Start getting your kids and pets ready now
Pets and kids may not be able to read a clock, but they know exactly when it’s feeding time or wake-up time. That can create difficulties: On Monday morning, the clock will say 8 a.m. when it still kind of feels like 7 a.m. You may have a tough time getting your kids out of bed in time for the school bus, and your dog may not be ready for meals and walks at the usual time.
So start adjusting their schedules (and your own!) right now. Set everyone’s alarms 15 minutes early, and after another day or two, set them a bit earlier still. Do the same with your pets’ feeding schedules, and anything else that will have to change. By next week, the “new” times won’t feel like as much of a shock.
Double-check the times of long-distance meetings
While most of Australia changes clocks together, Queensland doesn’t, nor does Western Australia, Northern Territory, or most other island territories.
So if you’re planning an international call or event in the next few weeks, make sure everybody uses a digital calendar or a tool like this world clock meeting planner to confirm the correct time.
Do your six-month household tasks
Smoke detectors should usually be checked or their batteries changed every six months, so the time change is a good reminder to do that. We have a list here of other household tasks you may want to link to the time change, like switching the direction of your ceiling fans (they should blow air downward in winter and upwards in summer).
Fix your sleep routine
If you’re losing an hour of sleep, you might as well make sure you’re making the most of the sleep you do get. Now is a good time to revisit all those sleep hygiene tips that you may not be following as well as you know you should. Decide on a bedtime, and give yourself some wind-down time beforehand where the lights are low and you’re doing relaxing things in dim lighting. Have your bedroom dark and cool, and consider planning some outdoor exercise for the morning if you can.
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