Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence

Memorandum by the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University

  1.  Progress in research into the priority areas identified by the Committee in 2000:

    Our research at Liverpool John Moores University (Research Institute for Sport and  Exercise Sciences) has focused on:

    —    the phenonmenon of jet lag, and methods of accelerating adjustment of the body clock  to the new time zone; and

    —    factors affecting choice of foods and subjective responses to food served on board  long-haul flights.

  2.  A list of publications is appended. In a number of these publications, the House of Lords report has been referenced, as it provided the stimulus for some of this research work.

  3.  Progress made by the airline industry and information supplied to travellers:

    —    There have been small but perceptible improvements in attention to travellers. Water is offered more systematically on long-haul flights. In-flight entertainment is individualised to provide a more comfortable flight experience. Ear plugs are provided to all passengers by the major carriers. There is little change in the space available to individual passengers and it seems that a cramped posture is more or less accepted as a corollary of travelling, especially for those in higher percentile anthropometric groups. Pre-flight advice about seating space is not usually provided;

    —    Information on coping with jet-lag and preventing deep-vein thrombosis is not overtly provided. Flight magazines may contain illustrations of recommended exercises but these are not sufficiently promoted to be taken up by passengers. What is needed is advice similar to that provided for safety, after boarding or at check-in (there are more fatalities from deep-vein thrombosis than from emergencies);

    —    The airport environment has been the subject of a recent initiative of the American College of Sports Medicince. A symposium on "jet stress" at its Annual Conference (2007) considered how to promote health-related behaviour among travellers eg walking around the airport rather than snacking. A Working Group of the College is active in this project but its impact on lifestyle changes is likely to be marginal, if at all, and has questionable acute consequence for travellers;

    —    The phenomenon of jet-lag and the risk of deep-vein thromboses are now unequivocally accepted by the airline industry. This was not so prior to 2000.

  4.  Areas we have covered, 2000-current:

    —    We have continued to write articles concerned with circadian rhythms in general, part of which is travel;

    —    Specific reviews on travel, dealing with travel fatigue and jet lag have been written. These have also attempted to offer advice to the general traveller, to athletes and to aircrew. There is also a web site that gives information and advice on light and melatonin;

    —    We have not dealt specifically about the cabin environment, but this is covered in many of the reviews (part of travel fatigue). In addition, we have considered the palatability of food in trans-meridian travellers;

    —    We have produced several pieces of evidence relating to what, exactly, is meant by "jet lag";

    —    We have produced a review of the effects of noise upon sleep in those living near to a major international airport;

    —    We have considered the "problem" of melatonin; whether or not it is effective (in many of the reviews), problems associated with its use, and the lack of information relating to its toxicology, particularly in the long-term;

    —    We have also attempted to produce simple, non-intrusive methods for establishing sleep loss and altered activity patterns after flights.

8 June 2007


General Reviews on Circadian Rhythms, including Travel

Waterhouse, J, Minors, D, Waterhouse, M, Reilly, T and Atkinson, G (2002). Keeping in Step with your Body Clock. OUP, Oxford.

J Waterhouse and P DeCoursey (2004). The relevance of circadian rhythms for human welfare. In Chronobiology. Biological Timekeeping (eds J Dunlap, J Loros, and P DeCoursey). Sunderland, MA: Sinauer, pp 325-356.

Reilly, T and Waterhouse, J (2004). Sport, Exercise and Environmental Physiology, Elsevier, Edinburgh.

Reviews on Travel and Jet Lag

T Reilly, G Atkinson, J Waterhouse (2000). Chronobiology and physical performance. In: Exercise and Sport Science (eds) W Garrett, D Kirkendall, Lippincott Williams, Philadelphia, pp 351-372.

J Waterhouse (2000). Brief review: jet lag. Travel Wise 6: 5-6.

Reilly, G, Atkinson, J, Waterhouse (2000). Endurance performers and time-zone shifts. In: Endurance in Sport, 2nd Edition, (ed) R Shephard and P Astrand, Blackwell Science, Oxford, pp 639-650.

Waterhouse, J, Edwards, B, Carvalho Bos, S, Buckley, P and Reilly, T, (2002), Circadian rhythms and some aspects of jet lag and shift work, with particular reference to athletes. European Journal of Sport Science, 2(6): 19 pages.

J Waterhouse, T Reilly, B Edwards (2003). Long-haul flights, travel fatigue and jet lag. In: Passenger Behaviour (ed R Bor), Ashgate Publishing Ltd, Aldershot, UK, pp 246-260.

J Waterhouse, D Minors (2003). Circadian rhythm Abnormalities. In: P Redfern, ed Chronotherapeutics. London: Pharmaceutical Press. pp 309-341.

Reilly, T, Edwards, B J and Waterhouse, J, (2004). Long-haul travel and jet-lag: Behavioural and pharmacological approaches. Medicina Sportiva, 7: E115-E122.

J Waterhouse, T Reilly, B Edwards (2004). The stress of travel. J Sport Sci., 22: 946-966.

Reilly, T, Edwards, B, Waterhouse, J and Atkinson, G, (2005). Jet lag and air travel: implications for performance. Clinics in Sports Med. 24: 367-380.

Waterhouse J, Spencer M, Elsey A, Edwards B, Atkinson G, Reilly t (2006). Occupational factors in pilot mental health: sleep loss, jet lag, and shift work. In: Aviation Mental Health ed R Bor, T Hubbard, Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot, pp 255-284.

Waterhouse, J, Reilly, T, Atkinson, G, Edwards, B, (2007). Jet lag: trends and coping strategies. The Lancet, 369, 1117-1129.

Reilly, T, Atkinson, G, Edwards, B, Waterhouse, J, Akerstedt, T, Davenne, D, Lemmer, B, Wirz-Justice, A, 2007. Position Statement. Coping with jet-lag: A position statement for the European College of Sport Science. Eur J Sport Sci, 7:1-7.

A web site (in collaboration with Medical Advisory Service for Travellers Abroad) on jetlag:£p

Jet Lag

J Waterhouse, B Edwards, A Nevill, G Atkinson, T Reilly, P Davies, R Godfrey (2000). Do subjective symptoms predict our perception of jet lag? Ergonomics 43: 1514-1527.

Waterhouse, J, Edwards, B, Nevill, A, Carvalho, S, Atkinson, G, Buckley, P, Reilly, T, Godfrey, R and Ramsay, R, (2002). Identifying some determinants of "jet lag" and its symptoms: a study of athletes and other travellers. Br J Sports Med, 36: 54-60.

J Waterhouse, A Nevill, B Edwards, R Godfrey and T Reilly (2003). The relationship between assessments of jet lag and some of its symptoms. Chronobiology International, 20: 1061-1073.

Waterhouse, J, Nevill, A, Finnegan, J, Williams, P, Edwards, B, Kao, S, Reilly, T, (2005). Further assessments of the relationship between jet lag and some of its symptoms. Chronobiol Int 22: 107-122.

  J Waterhouse, S Kao, D Weinert, B Edwards, G Atkinson and T Reilly (2005). Measuring phase shifts in humans following a simulated time-zone transition: agreement between constant routine and purification methods. Chronobiol Int 22: 829-858.


B Edwards, G Atkinson, J Waterhouse, T Reilly, R Godfrey, R Budgett (2000). Use of melatonin in recovery from jet-lag following an eastward flight across 10 time zones. Ergonomics 43: 1501-1513.

Atkinson, G, Buckley, P, Edwards, B, Reilly, T and Waterhouse, J, (2001). Are there hangover-effects on physical performance when melatonin is ingested by athletes before nocturnal sleep? Int J Sports Med 2001; 22: 232-234.

Herxheimer A and Waterhouse, J (2003) Editorial: The prevention and treatment of jet lag. British Medical Journal 326:296-297.


S Carvalho Bos, J Waterhouse, B Edwards, R Simons, T Reilly (2003). The use of actimetry to assess changes to the rest-activity cycle. Chronobiology International, 20: 1039-1059.


Waterhouse, J, Simons, R, Reilly, T, Valk, P, (2004). Non-Auditory Health Effects of Aircraft Noise with Special Reference to Sleep Disturbance. Report commissioned by Sciphol Airport. Liverpool John Moores University, 56 pp.

Food intake

J Waterhouse, S Kao, B Edwards, D Weinert, G Atkinson and T Reilly (2005) Transient changes in the pattern of food intake following a simulated time-zone transition to the east across eight time zones. Chronobiology International, 22: 299-319.

Waterhouse, J, Kao, S, Edwards, B, Atkinson, G, Reilly, T, (2006). Factors associated with food intake in passengers on long-haul flights. Chronobiology International, 23: 1-23.24.

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