What happens if Adelaide changes the clocks to EST?

Changing South Australia’s time zone can misalign our bodies’ circadian rhythm. It may have a small impact individually but in an already sleep-deprived society, it adds up to a substantial effect state-wide.

The South Australian government is taking public submissions on whether the state should permanently change its time zone. The move came after Premier Jay Weatherill last month said being 30 minutes behind eastern time made South Australia a “joke anomaly”.

Aligning the state to Australian Eastern Standard Time is the main contender of several proposed changes. In all the discussion of the pros and cons for doing so, one important issue is yet to be considered: the effect of delaying our circadian rhythms (our internal body clock) and therefore reducing the amount of sleep we get.

It may have a small impact individually but it adds up to a substantial effect statewide. And our population tends to be sleep-deprived already.

Attention lapses

Extensive experimental research has shown that cumulative sleep loss produces feelings of tiredness that may subtly reduce motivation and enthusiasm for work, education and innovation in all walks of life. But these effects are eclipsed by the negative impact on thinking ability.

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