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Daylight Saving Time Begins Tonight, So Set Your Clocks Forward

Depending on how you like to look at it, this weekend many Australians will either mourn a lost hour of sleep or celebrate a gained hour of sunlight.

That's right, Daylight Saving Time is set to kick in on Sunday, when at 1.59am the clock ticks over to 3am in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and the Australian Capital Territory.

If you live in any of those states and don't rely solely on your smartphone to tell the time, you will need to set your analog clocks one hour forward before hitting the sack on Saturday night.

If your settings are currently on to do so, Apple and Android products will make the change automatically.

Image: Getty

Australia is one of more than 70 countries across the world to observe daylight saving, which gives us longer, sunnier days.

But what effect does losing that one hour of sleep have?

"For most people, it's not even noticeable," Swinburne University psychology lecturer Dr Ben Bullock told 10 daily. 

But there are elements of society who notice it more, particularly children and families with young children. Trying to get them to sleep when it's still light outside is very difficult and that can curtail the amount of sleep that they get, which can cause all sorts of issues for young kids.

People with certain mental health disorders, particularly depression and bipolar disorder, are also often more susceptible to disruption -- particularly from light -- and may experience impacts on their sleeping patterns, Bullock said.

When it comes to making a smooth transition across the time change, Bullock urges routine is key for children.

"So the bedtime routine for kids is particularly important," he said.

"Maintaining that routine that they're used to, brushing their teeth at a certain time, getting into their pyjamas at a certain time, just to keep that sense of normalcy for them even though they can see it's light outside."

The pros and cons of Daylight Saving Time are quite hotly debated.

One of the most common reasons given for its creation is that it allows people to make more time for social and leisure activities in the warmer months.

READ MOREHow Daylight Saving Screws Our Shift Workers

READ MOREHere's How To Prepare Yourself For Daylight Saving

According to Bullock, there is certainly a greater chance for Aussies to use their extended days to get out and get social.

"It is important for people to get out there and be social, and obviously extending daylight hours helps that," he said.

"You might have noticed in the news recently there's a lot literature around the impacts of loneliness on mental health. And of course, light tends to encourage sociability, so it is important we do get out and enjoy the sun as much as we can."

Daylight Saving ends at 2am (which is 3am Daylight Saving Time) on the first Sunday in April 2020, when clocks are put back one hour.

Contact the author vquested@networkten.com.au