Jet Lag Negatively Affects Your Favorite Athletes, Too

Jan 25, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Could jet lag affect the performance of Major League Baseball players? A study released by Northwestern University suggests traveling through time zones could do more than increase drowsiness and overall discomfort.

In reviewing more than 40,000 actual games played between 1992 and 2011, the research team discovered that traveling across time zones had a direct effect on how baseball players performed on the field. In particular, teams playing at home immediately after a road trip produced less offense, while away teams traveling in performed better. In addition, teams that were jet-lagged experienced difficulty with reflexes and coordination, as the most jet-lagged groups had less offensive production in base running, stolen bases and multi-base hits.

Focus also appeared to be a problem for baseball players who experienced jet lag before a game. Researchers discovered a connection between jet lag and the number of home runs yielded. In particular, jet-lagged pitchers were predisposed to give up more home runs — to the point where any home field advantage was erased. Researchers illustrated this in an example from the 2016 National League Championship Series. Presumably experiencing jet lag after traveling east, pitcher Clayton Kershaw gave up two home runs, and a total of five runs, during game six of the series. Although the researchers noted it was speculation, jet lag appeared to be a factor in the pitcher’s overall performance.

Finally, the research team also noted that the direction of travel played into how much jet lag was a factor. When players were traveling east, the effects of jet lag were significantly stronger than when they were traveling west. Although they concluded the body can adjust to one hour of change per day, those who travel in a method that affects their internal clocks will face “negative consequences.”

Although jet lag is always a problem for individuals crossing multiple time zones at a time, there are steps travelers can take to mitigate its effects. Staying hydrated, changing watches before boarding and sleeping on an aircraft can all help reduce the symptoms of jet lag upon arrival. The Northwestern researchers added that those planning for a particular event should add lead time to their trip, in order to properly adjust for jet lag at the destination.

What are your favorite tips for avoiding jet lag?

Featured image courtesy of Emirates.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.