Adjustment of sleep and the circadian temperature rhythm after flights across nine time zones

Aviat Space Environ Med. 1989 Aug;60(8):733-43.


The adjustment of sleep-wake patterns and the circadian temperature rhythm was monitored in nine Royal Norwegian Air-force volunteers operating P-3 aircraft during a westward training deployment across nine time zones. Subjects recorded all sleep and nap times, rated nightly sleep quality, and completed personality inventories. Rectal temperature, heart rate, and wrist activity were continuously monitored. Adjustment was slower after the return eastward flight than after the outbound westward flight. The eastward flight produced slower readjustment of sleep timing to local time and greater interindividual variability in the patterns of adjustment of sleep and temperature. One subject apparently exhibited resynchronization by partition, with the temperature rhythm undergoing the reciprocal 15-h delay. In contrast, average heart rates during sleep were significantly elevated only after westward flight. Interindividual differences in adjustment of the temperature rhythm were correlated with some of the personality measures. Larger phase delays in the overall temperature waveform (as measured on the 5th day after westward flight) were exhibited by extraverts, and less consistently by evening types.

MeSH terms

  • Aerospace Medicine*
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Body Temperature Regulation*
  • Caffeine / administration & dosage
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Military Personnel
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Norway
  • Personality Assessment
  • Reference Values
  • Sleep / physiology*


  • Caffeine