February 16, 2017
Successful scientists spend more time in aircraft than in the laboratory. More than one Nobel laureate has complained that winning the Nobel Prize prevented him from doing any science for the subsequent several years. While prominent scientists will have technicians or graduate students to handle the routine work in the laboratory, a real scientist takes joy in such work.
A frequent lunchtime topic of conversation at my corporate research laboratory was methods to ameliorate jet lag. Jet lag was a major problem for us, since our production facilities extended over the breadth of the United States (later, worldwide), and our research center was in the Eastern Time Zone.
Normally skeptical scientists were not hesitant to try the many home remedies for jet lag. My remedy was much better, avoiding travel as much as possible. Today, there's the similar problem of the international teleconference that has some employees connecting too late at night, or too early in the morning.
WebMD has published some tips to alleviate jet lag, as follow:
• 1. Shift to your new schedule before your trip. This means shifting your meals to a slightly later time each day, and getting to bed a little later each night when you will be travelling west.
Professional athletes, like professional scientists, do a lot of travel; and, similarly to scientists, their performance suffers from lack of sleep. The Pittsburgh Steelers lost the recent AFC Championship to their arch-rival, the New England Patriots, 36-17. Interestingly, someone pulled the fire alarm in the Steeler's hotel the night before that game, causing the players to lose sleep. It's reported that the same happened on two nights at the Patriot's hotel during the 2015 Super Bowl.
There are many more college football players than professional football players. In 2016, the University of Arizona was awarded an NCAA Innovations in Research and Practice Grant to study sleep habits in college athletes. Says Michael Grandner, assistant professor of psychiatry and psychology and director of the Sleep & Health Research Program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine,
• 2. Reset all your clocks to the destination time while in flight, and try to schedule sleep at the proper new time.
• 3. Try to arrive a day or two early.
• 4. Stay hydrated, and avoid dehydrating beverages such as alcohol and caffeinated drinks.
• 5. Move around.
• 6. A melatonin supplement might work, but the scientific evidence for its beneficial affect is still weak. You should ask your physician first.
• 7. Try light therapy; that is, adjust the lighting in your environment to match that of the destination.
• 8. Near bedtime, don't eat high carbohydrate or fatty foods that might interfere with sleep.
• 9. Take a hot bath before bedtime. This might make you sleepy.
• 10. Minimize sleep distractions, such as room light, when you're trying to sleep.
• 11. In extreme cases, you might want to have your physician prescribe, or suggest, medications to help you sleep, or help keep you awake.
"Some of the most prominent effects of disturbed sleep can be reduced physical performance, reduced mental and cognitive performance, reduced recovery time from injury and worse mental health."
The study surveyed 189 University of Arizona student-athletes. While at least 8-9 hours of sleep is recommended for such individuals, 68% reported poor sleep quality, 87% got less than, or equal to, eight hours of sleep, and 43% got less than seven hours. Forty student-athletes were enrolled in an intervention program in which Fitbits were used to monitor progress. 83% of these said their sleep was better, and nearly 89% thought that their athletic performance was improved.
Two neurobiologists and a statistician at Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois) have just published a study on the affect of jet lag on the performance of a cohort of athletes who often travel east-west through one or several time zones, Major League Baseball players.[5-7] Their database was extensive, spanning 20 years from 1992-2011, and more than 40,000 games. In their analysis, the researchers considered whether the travel was east or west, if the team was home or away, and the number of hours players would be jet-lagged. As can be seen from the figure, there was enough data for statistical significance.
The study results were as expected. Jet-lag affect on performance was evident after eastward travel, but not for westward travel.[5,7] While jet lag negatively affected both home and away defensive performance, specifically by giving up more home runs, it did not affect away-team offensive performance, such as hits.[5,7] Away-team offensive performance was generally not affected. Offensive performance relates to base running, stolen bases, number of doubles and triples, and double plays.
Says Ravi Allada, a professor of neuroscience at Northwestern University and leader of the study that was funded by the The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency,
|Jet lag events for Major League Baseball teams for the years 1992-2011, segmented by hours lag, east or west, and whether the team was playing at home after travel, or away.|
(Graphed using Gnumeric from data in ref. 6.)
"Jet lag does impair the performance of Major League Baseball players... The negative effects of jet lag we found are subtle, but they are detectable and significant. And they happen on both offense and defense and for both home and away teams, often in surprising ways... If I were a baseball manager and my team was traveling across time zones - either to home or away - I would send my first starting pitcher a day or two ahead, so he could adjust his clock to the local environment."
- Ian Sample, "What are the downsides of winning a Nobel prize?" The Guardian (UK), October 15, 2012.
- Camille Peri, "How to Cope With Jet Lag," Web MD, January 19, 2010.
- Ed Bouchette, "False fire alarm at hotel forces 3 a.m. wake-up for Steelers," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 22, 2017.
- Alexis Blue, "Intervention Could Help Student-Athletes Sleep," University of Arizona Press Release, January 19, 2017.
- Alex Song, Thomas Severini, and Ravi Allada, "How jet lag impairs Major League Baseball performance," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., Early Edition, January 17, 2017, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1608847114.
- Supplemental information for ref. 5.
- Megan Fellman, "Jet lag impairs performance of major league baseball players," Northwestern University Press Release, January 23, 2017.
Permanent Link to this article
Linked Keywords: Scientist; aircraft; laboratory; Nobel laureate; Nobel Prize; science; technician; graduate student; lunchtime; corporation; corporate; research; ameliorate; jet lag; production; United States; Eastern Time Zone; skepticism; skeptical; home remedy; teleconference; Leaving on a Jet Plane; musical ensemble; music group; Peter, Paul and Mary; composer; compose; John Denver; lyric; Wikimedia Commons; WebMD; meal; sleep; getting to bed; west; clock; hydrated; dehydration; dehydrated; drink; beverage; alcoholic drink; caffeinated drink; melatonin; dietary supplement; science; scientific; physician; light therapy; environment; carbohydrate; fat; food; bathing; bath; room light; medical prescription; prescribe; pharmaceutical drug; medication; professional sports; professional athlete; Pittsburgh Steelers; AFC Championship; New England Patriots; fire alarm; Super Bowl XLIX; 2015 Super Bowl; college football; University of Arizona; National Collegiate Athletic Association; NCAA; Innovations in Research and Practice Grant; habit; Michael Grandner; assistant professor; psychiatry; psychology; director; Sleep & Health Research Program; University of Arizona College of Medicine; mind; mental and cognitive; convalescence; recovery time from injury; mental health; health intervention; intervention program; Fitbit; neuroscientist; neurobiologist; statistician; Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois); scientific literature; publish; time zone; Major League Baseball; database; analysis; statistical significance; Gnumeric; defensive; home run; offensive; hits; base running; stolen base; double; triple; double play; Ravi Allada; professor; neuroscience; Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; baseball manager; starting pitcher; Yogi Berra (1925-2015); Yogi-ism; bubble gum; baseball card.
Latest Books by Dev Gualtieri
Thanks to Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing for his favorable review of Secret Codes!
Blog Article Directory on a Single Page
- J. Robert Oppenheimer and Black Holes - April 24, 2017
- Modeling Leaf Mass - April 20, 2017
- Easter, Chicks and Eggs - April 13, 2017
- You, Robot - April 10, 2017
- Collisions - April 6, 2017
- Eugene Garfield (1925-2017) - April 3, 2017
- Old Fossils - March 30, 2017
- Levitation - March 27, 2017
- Soybean Graphene - March 23, 2017
- Income Inequality and Geometrical Frustration - March 20, 2017
- Wireless Power - March 16, 2017
- Trilobite Sex - March 13, 2017
- Freezing, Outside-In - March 9, 2017
- Ammonia Synthesis - March 6, 2017
- High Altitude Radiation - March 2, 2017
- C.N. Yang - February 27, 2017
- VOC Detection with Nanocrystals - February 23, 2017
- Molecular Fountains - February 20, 2017
- Jet Lag - February 16, 2017
- Highly Flexible Conductors - February 13, 2017
- Graphene Friction - February 9, 2017
- Dynamic Range - February 6, 2017
- Robert Boyle's To-Do List for Science - February 2, 2017
- Nanowire Ink - January 30, 2017
- Random Triangles - January 26, 2017
- Torricelli's law - January 23, 2017
- Magnetic Memory - January 19, 2017
- Graphene Putty - January 16, 2017
- Seahorse Genome - January 12, 2017
- Infinite c - January 9, 2017
- 150 Years of Transatlantic Telegraphy - January 5, 2017
- Cold Work on the Nanoscale - January 2, 2017
- Holidays 2016 - December 22, 2016
- Ballistics - December 19, 2016
- Salted Frogs - December 15, 2016
- Negative Thermal Expansion - December 12, 2016
- Verbal Cues and Stereotypes - December 8, 2016
- Capacitance Sensing - December 5, 2016
- Gallium Nitride Tribology - December 1, 2016
- Lunar Origin - November 27, 2016
- Pumpkin Propagation - November 24, 2016
- Math Anxiety - November 21, 2016
- Borophene - November 17, 2016
- Forced Innovation - November 14, 2016
- Combating Glare - November 10, 2016
- Solar Tilt and Planet Nine - November 7, 2016
- The Proton Size Problem - November 3, 2016
- Coffee Acoustics and Espresso Foam - October 31, 2016
- SnIP - An Inorganic Double Helix - October 27, 2016
- Seymour Papert (1928-2016) - October 24, 2016
- Mapping the Milky Way - October 20, 2016
- Electromagnetic Shielding - October 17, 2016
- The Lunacy of the Cows - October 13, 2016
- Random Coprimes and Pi - October 10, 2016
- James Cronin (1931-2016) - October 6, 2016
- The Ubiquitous Helix - October 3, 2016
- The Five-Second Rule - September 29, 2016
- Resistor Networks - September 26, 2016
- Brown Dwarfs - September 22, 2016
- Intrusion Rheology - September 19, 2016
- Falsifiability - September 15, 2016
- Fifth Force - September 12, 2016
- Renal Crystal Growth - September 8, 2016
- The Normality of Pi - September 5, 2016
- Metering Electrical Power - September 1, 2016
Deep Archive 2006-2008