Business Class Travel Preserves Sleep Quality and Quantity and Minimizes Jet Lag During the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: To determine the impact of the quality and quantity of sleep during an international flight on subsequent objective sleep characteristics, training and match-day load, self-reported well-being, and perceptions of jet lag of elite female cricketers during an International Cricket Council Women’s T20 World Cup. Methods: In-flight and tournament objective sleep characteristics of 11 elite female cricketers were assessed using activity monitors. Seated in business class, players traveled west from Melbourne, Australia, to Chennai, India. The outbound flight departed Melbourne at 3:30 AM with a stopover in Dubai for 2 hours. The arrival time in Chennai was 8:10 PM local time (1:40 AM in Melbourne). The total travel time was 19 hours 35 minutes. Perceptual ratings of jet lag, well-being, and training and competition load were collected. To determine the impact of in-flight sleep on tournament measures, a median split was used to create subsamples based on (1) in-flight sleep quantity and (2) in-flight sleep quality (2 groups: higher vs lower). Spearman correlation coefficients were calculated to assess the bivariate associations between sleep measures, self-reported well-being, perceptual measures of jet lag, and internal training and match-day load. Results: Mean duration and efficiency of in-flight sleep bouts were 4.72 hours and 87.45%, respectively. Aggregated in-flight sleep duration was 14.64 + 3.56 hours. Players with higher in-flight sleep efficiency reported higher ratings for fatigue (ie, lower perceived fatigue) during the tournament period. Tournament sleep duration was longer, and bed and wake times were earlier compared with habitual. Compared with other nights during the tournament, sleep duration was shorter following matches. Conclusions: Maximizing in-flight sleep quality and quantity appears to have implications for recovery and sleep exhibited during competition. Sleep duration was longer than habitual except for the night of a match, which suggests that T20 matches may disrupt sleep duration.

Lalor, Halson, and Kemp are with the School of Behavioural and Health Sciences, and Halson and Cormack, the Sports Performance, Recovery, Injury and New Technologies (SPRINT) Research Centre, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia. Tran is with Knowledge Edge for Tokyo, High Performance Sport New Zealand, Auckland, New Zealand.

Lalor (benita.lalor@myacu.edu.au) is corresponding author.
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