Managing Travel Fatigue and Jet Lag in Athletes: A Review and Consensus Statement

Sports Med. 2021 Oct;51(10):2029-2050. doi: 10.1007/s40279-021-01502-0. Epub 2021 Jul 14.


Athletes are increasingly required to travel domestically and internationally, often resulting in travel fatigue and jet lag. Despite considerable agreement that travel fatigue and jet lag can be a real and impactful issue for athletes regarding performance and risk of illness and injury, evidence on optimal assessment and management is lacking. Therefore 26 researchers and/or clinicians with knowledge in travel fatigue, jet lag and sleep in the sports setting, formed an expert panel to formalise a review and consensus document. This manuscript includes definitions of terminology commonly used in the field of circadian physiology, outlines basic information on the human circadian system and how it is affected by time-givers, discusses the causes and consequences of travel fatigue and jet lag, and provides consensus on recommendations for managing travel fatigue and jet lag in athletes. The lack of evidence restricts the strength of recommendations that are possible but the consensus group identified the fundamental principles and interventions to consider for both the assessment and management of travel fatigue and jet lag. These are summarised in travel toolboxes including strategies for pre-flight, during flight and post-flight. The consensus group also outlined specific steps to advance theory and practice in these areas.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletes
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Consensus
  • Fatigue / therapy
  • Humans
  • Jet Lag Syndrome* / prevention & control
  • Travel