How jet lag impairs major league baseball performance

Alex Song, Thomas Severini, Ravi Allada*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Laboratory studies have demonstrated that circadian clocks align physiology and behavior to 24-h environmental cycles. Examination of athletic performance has been used to discern the functions of these clocks in humans outside of controlled settings. Here, we examined the effects of jet lag, that is, travel that shifts the alignment of 24-h environmental cycles relative to the endogenous circadian clock, on specific performance metrics in Major League Baseball. Accounting for potential differences in home and away performance, travel direction, and team confounding variables, we observed that jet-lag effects were largely evident after eastward travel with very limited effects after westward travel, consistent with the >24-h period length of the human circadian clock. Surprisingly, we found that jet lag impaired major parameters of home-Team offensive performance, for example, slugging percentage, but did not similarly affect away-Team offensive performance. On the other hand, jet lag impacted both home and away defensive performance. Remarkably, the vast majority of these effects for both home and away teams could be explained by a single measure, home runs allowed. Rather than uniform effects, these results reveal surprisingly specific effects of circadian misalignment on athletic performance under natural conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1407-1412
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume114
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 7 2017

Keywords

  • Athletic performance
  • Circadian rhythms
  • Jet lag
  • Major league baseball

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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