Subjective Sleep Patterns and Jet Lag Symptoms of Junior Netball Players Prior to and During an International Tournament: A Case Study

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: To assess the impact of long-haul transmeridian travel on subjective sleep patterns and jet lag symptoms in youth athletes around an international tournament. Methods: An observational descriptive design was used. Subjective sleep diaries and perceived responses to jet lag were collected and analyzed for a national junior netball team competing in an international tournament. Sleep diaries and questionnaires were completed daily prior to and during travel, and throughout the tournament. Results were categorized into pretravel, travel, training, and match nights. Means were compared performing a paired Student t test with significance set at P < .05. Data are presented as mean (SD) and median (minimum, maximum). Results: Athletes reported significantly greater time in bed on match days compared with training (P < .001) and travel (P = .002) days, and on pretravel days compared with travel (P < .001) and training (P = .028) days. Sleep ratings were significantly better on pretravel days compared with match (P = .013) days. Perceived jet lag was worse on match (P = .043) days compared with pretravel days. Significant differences were also observed between a number of conditions for meals, mood, bowel activity, and fatigue. Conclusion: Youth athletes experience significantly less opportunity for sleep during long-haul transmeridian travel and face disruptions to daily routines during travel which impact food intake. Young athletes also experience disturbed sleep prior to and during competition. These results highlight the need for practices to alleviate jet lag symptoms and improve the sleep of young athletes traveling for tournaments in an effort to optimize recovery and performance.

Lever and Fullagar are with the Sport & Exercise Discipline Group, UTS: Health, University of Technology, Moore Park, NSW, Australia. Janse van Rensburg and Jansen van Rensburg are with the Section Sports Medicine & the Sport, Exercise Medicine and Lifestyle Institute (SEMLI), Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa. Janse van Rensburg is also with the Medical Board, International Netball Federation, Manchester, United Kingdom. Fowler is with the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.

Lever (jonathon.r.lever@student.uts.edu.au) is corresponding author.
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