Impact of short- compared to long-haul international travel on the sleep and wellbeing of national wheelchair basketball athletes

J Sports Sci. 2018 Jul;36(13):1476-1484. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2017.1398883. Epub 2017 Nov 3.


Currently, very little is known about the impact of short- or long-haul air travel on the sleep and wellbeing of wheelchair basketball athletes. Eleven national wheelchair basketball athletes wore actigraphy monitors prior, during, and after air travel to the United Kingdom. Upon arrival, participants rated their subjective jet-lag, fatigue, and vigor. Individuals traveled to the United Kingdom from different locations in Australia, the United States, and Europe and were categorised according to travel length [LONG (up to 30.2 h) or SHORT (up to 6.5 h)]. Linear mixed models determined effects of travel length on sleep and subjective ratings of jet-lag, fatigue, and vigor. During competition, subjective fatigue and jet-lag were substantially higher (ES = 0.73; ±0.77) and (ES = 0.57; ±0.60), subjective vigor was lower (ES = 1.94; ±0.72), and get-up time was earlier (ES = 0.57; ±0.60) for LONG when compared to SHORT. Travelling greater distances by airplane had a larger effect on subjective ratings of jet-lag, fatigue and vigor, rather than sleep. Irrespective of travel group, sleep and subjective responses were compromised, reflecting the travel requirements, competition-mediated influences, and/or due to a change in environment.

Keywords: Performance; fatigue; jet-lag; team-sport; wellness.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Basketball / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Jet Lag Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Travel*
  • Wheelchairs*