Jetlag feels bad. But it doesn't only feel bad; it actually does affect your performance measurably. Top performing athletes, their coaches and consultants know that. Cardiovascular efficiency, muscle strength, blood pressure and many other bodily functions are absolutely tied to the circadian rhythm, which gets distorted when traveling trough time zones. So how do athletes deal with this? Let us learn from the best.
Maybe you now think “Oh well, whatever, I just sit through that slump and try to chill until I’m back to normal.” You may think that. Unless you are a frequent traveler with the need to perform. At your job, at your hobbies... or at your athletic career.
The NBA as an example
Do cardinal directions matter?
(Just in case you’re asking yourself, your greatest cardiovascular efficiency and muscle strength is around 5 p.m. So if you’re trying to beat someone at arm wrestling, try 5 p.m. when the other guy just came back from a holiday somewhere far in the east.)
Since there is a lot at stake, doctors and scientists have thought about
alleviations and solutions to the problem. Some of the recommended strategies are quite simple: Stay well hydrated and have a good ol’ power nap. Some teams have applied a more sophisticated strategy. Coloured lights. Blue in the morning and red at night. This resembles the natural spectrum of sunlight during the day and helps the body adjust faster to the new time zone. Sounds easy? Bill Burgos, a performance consultant and former head strength and conditioning coach for the Orlando Magic is quoted in the Guardian saying that lights can be effective but it’s tough to get players to use them.