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Unit of study_

EXSS2036: The Body Clock and Athletic Performance

Semester 1, 2021 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This Unit will examine the effects of circadian rhythm on athletic performance. It will discuss the relationship between personal best performance and circadian phenotypes by examining the predictors of peak performance time and of optimal performance. It will emphasise the importance of sleep cycle to peak athletic performance; the negative effects of sleep disruption when travelling across time zones and related behavioural strategy/ exercise/ pharmacological treatment; and recovery of athletes in the phase of resynchronisation.

Unit details and rules

Unit code EXSS2036
Academic unit Movement Sciences
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Chin Moi Chow,
Lecturer(s) Chin Moi Chow,
Yu Sun Bin,
Daniel Hackett,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Record+) Type B final exam EXSS2036 Final exam
MCQ and short-answer questions
40% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Online task Online Quizzes
Online MCQs
5% Week 04
Due date: 24 Mar 2021 at 09:00
20-40 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Presentation group assignment EXSS2036 Oral Presentation
Collect data in-class and outside of class. Analyse and present data
30% Week 06
Due date: 14 Apr 2021 at 09:00
20 minutes per Team
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO5
Assignment group assignment EXSS2036 Debate
Debate with an Affirmative and a Negative team, each with 4 members.
25% Week 08
Due date: 28 Apr 2021 at 09:00
Video length does not exceed 20 min.
Outcomes assessed: LO5 LO6 LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
group assignment = group assignment ?
Type B final exam = Type B final exam ?

Assessment summary

  1. Final exam (Record+): Written exam, written exam with non-written elements, however assessed. Worth 40%.
  2. Presentation: Oral presentation worth 30% 
  3. Online task: Three online quizzes worth a total of 5%.
  4. Debate (video submission) worth 25%

The details for assessment requirements will be available on CANVAS.

Assessment criteria

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

 Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an exceptional standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


75 - 84

 Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a very high standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


65 - 74

 Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a good standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


50 - 64

 Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an acceptable standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

This does not apply to any of the assessments.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Mid-semester exam period In-semester Exams Block teaching (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 01 Introduction to Unit of study Sleep Practical (2 hr) LO1 LO6
Week 02 Sleep and performance Keeping an internal sense of time Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 03 The circadian clock in sync with the environment Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO2
Week 04 The circadian clock free running Lecture (2 hr) LO2
Week 05 Phase response curve Lecture (2 hr) LO3
Week 06 Chronotype and performance - Oral Presentation Presentation (2 hr) LO4
Week 07 Temporal variation in physiological variables Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO5
Week 09 Circadian rhythms in sports performance Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO5
Week 10 Circadian phenotype and implications for training and competition Lecture (2 hr) LO6
Week 11 Training, over-training, muscle damage and fatigue Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO7
Week 12 Strategies for recovery Lecture (2 hr) LO7
Week 13 Review lectures Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance and participation are required for:

Week 1/2      Practical Session

Week 6         Oral Presentation

Week 8         In-semester Exam

Week 15/16  Final Exam

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

  1. Rae, D. E., Chin, T., Dikgomo, K., Hill, L., McKune, A. J., Kohn, T. A., & Roden, L. C. (2017). One night of partial sleep deprivation impairs recovery from a single exercise training session. European journal of applied physiology, 117(4), 699-712.
  2. Mah, C. D., Mah, K. E., Kezirian, E. J., & Dement, W. C. (2011). The effects of sleep extension on the athletic performance of collegiate basketball players. Sleep34(7), 943-950.
  3. Roenneberg, T., & Merrow, M. (2016). The circadian clock and human health. Current biology, 26(10), R432-R443.
  4. Roenneberg, T., Wirz-Justice, A., Skene, D. J., Ancoli-Israel, S., Wright, K. P., Dijk, D. J., ... & Klerman, E. B. (2019). Why should we abolish daylight saving time?. Journal of biological rhythms, 34(3), 227-230.
  5. Kantermann, T., & Burgess, H. J. (2017). Average mid‐sleep time as a proxy for circadian phase. PsyCh journal, 6(4), 290-291.
  6. Kidd, P. B., Young, M. W., & Siggia, E. D. (2015). Temperature compensation and temperature sensation in the circadian clock. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences112(46), E6284-E6292.
  7. Thorne, H. C., Jones, K. H., Peters, S. P., Archer, S. N., & Dijk, D. J. (2009). Daily and seasonal variation in the spectral composition of light exposure in humans. Chronobiology International26(5), 854-866.
  8. Wever, R. A. (1984). Properties of human sleep-wake cycles: parameters of internally synchronized free-running rhythms. Sleep7(1), 27-51.
  9. St Hilaire MA, Gooley JJ, Khalsa SBS, Kronauer RE, Czeisler CA, Lockley SW. Human phase response curve to a 1 h pulse of bright white light. The Journal of Physiology. 2012;590(13):3035-45.
  10. Youngstedt SD, Elliott JA, Kripke DF. Human circadian phase-response curves for exercise. J Physiol. 2019;597(8):2253-68.
  11. Eichner, E. R. (1988). Circadian timekeepers in sports. The Physician and sportsmedicine16(2), 78-85.
  12. Vitale, J. A., & Weydahl, A. (2017). Chronotype, physical activity, and sport performance: a systematic review. Sports Medicine47(9), 1859-1868.
  13. Facer-Childs, E., & Brandstaetter, R. (2015). The impact of circadian phenotype and time since awakening on diurnal performance in athletes. Current biology25(4), 518-522.
  14. Facer-Childs, E. R., Middleton, B., Skene, D. J., & Bagshaw, A. P. (2019). Resetting the late timing of ‘night owls’ has a positive impact on mental health and performance. Sleep medicine60, 236-247.

All readings for this unit can be accessed through the Reading List, available on Canvas.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Demonstrate knowledge in the physiology of sleep and sleep as a performance enhancer
  • LO2. Comprehend the entrainment concept of the body clock and the external environment cue of light-dark cycle
  • LO3. Apply the knowledge of light and exercise as zeitgebers to phase-shifting and its application to circadian misalignments
  • LO4. Demonstrate competency in the skills of: a) reporting (data gathering, analysis and interpretation) b) oral presentation (organisation and visualisation)
  • LO5. Recognise the impact of circadian timing on physiological, physical and cognitive performance
  • LO6. Understand the underlying chronotype on optimal athletic performance
  • LO7. Understand the circadian rhythms of muscle strength and fatigue and strategies for recovery

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

This is the first time this unit has been offered.

A student who does not complete all data collection in the Week 1/2 Practical will only be awarded 12.5% of the total score of 25% for this assignment.

Work, health and safety

The Work Health and Safety practical induction checklist must be completed by each student in consultation with the tutor. The completed checklist must be returned to the tutor for university records.


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