Purpose: Determine the recovery timeline of sleep, subjective jet-lag and fatigue, and team-sport physical performance following east and west long-haul travel.
Methods: Ten, physically-trained males underwent testing at 09:00 (AM) and 17:00 (PM) local time on four consecutive days two weeks prior to outbound travel (BASE), and the first four days following 21 h of outbound (WEST) and return (EAST) air travel across eight time-zones between Australia and Qatar. Data collection included performance (countermovement jump [CMJ], 20-m sprint and Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery level 1 [YYIR1] test) and perceptual (jet-lag, motivation, perceived exertion and physical feeling) measures. In addition, sleep was measured via wrist activity monitors and self-report diaries throughout the aforementioned data collection periods.
Results: Compared to the corresponding day at BASE, the reduction in YYIR1 distance following EAST was significantly different to the increase WEST on day 1 post-travel (p<0.001). On day 2, significantly slower 20-m sprint times were detected in EAST compared to WEST (p=0.03), with large effect sizes also indicating a greater reduction in YYIR1 distance in EAST compared to WEST (d=1.06). Mean sleep onset and offset were significantly later and mean time in bed and sleep duration were significantly reduced across the four days in EAST compared to BASE and WEST (p<0.05). Lastly, mean jet-lag, fatigue and motivation ratings across the four days were significantly worse in EAST compared to BASE and WEST (p<0.05), and WEST compared to BASE (p<0.05).
Conclusions: Long-haul transmeridian travel can impede team-sport physical performance. Specifically, travel east has a greater detrimental effect on sleep, subjective jet-lag, fatigue and motivation. Consequently, maximal- and intermittent-sprint performance is also reduced following travel east, particularly within 72 h following arrival.
(C) 2017 American College of Sports Medicine