Team Travel

0 out of 12 steps completed0%
12 Lessons

One of the challenges of modern football and the international game is the need to play in different cities and countries around the world and in different time zones. There is also the matter of providing medical care for athletes in a new and foreign environment. To be able to do this effectively requires careful planning.

One of the results of international travel is jet lag – the disruption of the normal circadian rhythm and a mismatch between the ‘‘body clock time’’ and the new local time. This results in a variety of mental and physical effects. The more time zones crossed, the more severe and lasting the jet lag symptoms, and the latter are usually worse after flying eastwards than westwards. This appears to be because the body’s circadian set-up naturally adapts better to westward travel.

Jet lag must be differentiated from travel fatigue, which can occur even when travelling north or south without changing time zones.

Presented by

Learning outcomes

By the end of this topic, you should:

  • understand both the causes of jet lag and how it is manifested;
  • be able to develop strategies to minimise the effects of jet lag and travel fatigue;
  • be able to appropriately prescribe sleeping pills and melatonin;
  • be able to plan appropriately for a tour with a football team.


  • Read the relevant section in the FIFA Medical Manual and other required reading
  • Review the suggested reading
  • View, or listen to, any relevant multimedia content
  • Complete the course quiz

Required reading

F-MARC Football Medicine Manual 2nd Edition

2.6.3 Air travel and jet lag (pp 137-142)

Suggested reading

Brukner & Khan’s Clinical Sports Medicine 4th Edition

Chapter 64 (pages 1208-1218)


  1. Atkinson G., Buckley P., Edwards B., Reilly T., Waterhouse J.: Are there hangover-effects on physical performance when melatonin is ingested by athletes before nocturnal sleep? Int J Sports Med. 2001;22(3):232-234.
  2. Herxheimer A., Petrie K.J.: Melatonin for the prevention and treatment of jetlag, Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002;(2)(2):CD001520.
  3. Grobler L.A., Schwellnus M.P., Trichard C., Calder S., Noakes T.D., Derman W.E:. Comparative effects of zopiclone and loprazolam on psychomotor and physical performance in active individuals, Clin J Sport Med. 2000;10(2):123-128.
  4. Reilly T., Atkinson G., Waterhouse J.: Travel fatigue and jetlag, J Sports Sci. 1997;15(3):365-369.
  5. Waterhouse J., Reilly T., Edwards B.: The stress of travel, J Sports Sci. 2004;22(10):946-65; discussion 965-6.
  6. Smith R.S., Guilleminault C., Efron B.: Circadian rhythms and enhanced athletic performance in the national football league, Sleep. 1997;20(5):362-365.
  7. Jehue R., Street D., Huizenga R.: Effect of time zone and game time changes on team performance: National football league, Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1993;25(1):127-131.
  8. Reilly T., Waterhouse J., Edwards B.: A review on some of the problems associated with long-distance journeys, Clin Ter. 2008;159(2):117-127.
  9. Dinges D.F:. An overview of sleepiness and accidents, J Sleep Res. 1995;4(S2):4-14.
  10. Drust B., Waterhouse J., Atkinson G., Edwards B., Reilly T.: Circadian rhythms in sports performance–an update, Chronobiol Int. 2005;22(1):21-44.