Effects of Long-Haul Transmeridian Travel on Subjective Jet-Lag and Self-Reported Sleep and Upper Respiratory Symptoms in Professional Rugby League Players.

Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.
Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 2016, 11 (7), pp. 876 - 884
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
The present study examined the effects of 24 h travel west across 11 time-zones on subjective jet-lag and wellness responses, together with self-reported sleep and upper respiratory symptoms in eighteen professional rugby league players. Measures were obtained one or two days prior to (Pre), and two, six and eight days following travel (Post 2, 6 and 8) from Australia to the United Kingdom for the 2015 World Club Series. Compared to Pre, subjective jet-lag remained significantly elevated on Post 8 (3.1 ± 2.3); p<0.05, d>0.90), though was greatest on Post 2 (4.1 ± 1.4). Self-reported sleep onset times were significantly earlier on Post 2 compared to all other time points (p<0.05, d>0.90) and large effect sizes suggested wake times were earlier on Post 2 compared to Post 6 and 8 (d>0.90). While significantly more upper respiratory symptoms were reported on Post 6 compared to Pre (p<0.05, d>0.90), no incidence of injury and negligible changes in wellness and muscle strength and range of motion (p>0.05, d<0.90) were evident following travel. Results suggest that westward long-haul travel between Australia and the United Kingdom exacerbates subjective jet-lag and sleep responses, along with upper respiratory symptoms in professional rugby league players. Of note, the increase in self-reported upper respiratory symptoms is a reminder that the demands of long-haul travel may be an additional concern to jet-lag for travelling athletes. However, due to the lack of sport-specific performance measures, it is still unclear whether international travel interferes with training to the extent that subsequent competition performance is impaired.
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