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Monday, 8 January 2018

The Scientific Origins of the Circadian Rhythm Theory and Jet lag Phenomenon in the Holy Quran, and Their Relationship with Sports Performance

The Scientific Origins of the Circadian Rhythm Theory and Jet lag Phenomenon in the Holy Quran, and Their Relationship with Sports  Performance

Establishing the  origin of sciences  and deriving them from the Holy Quran and noble  prophetic tradition is one of the vital topics in the different sciences whether  they are natural sciences or human ones. The majority of the theories which  were reached have their origins in the  Holy Quran and noble prophetic traditions. As an example and not exclusively the theory of procedural conditioning and reinforcement  in its two kinds: the material and the moral which Skinner arrived at , many verses in the Holy Quran  emphasized  material and moral reinforcement. As an example of material reinforcement, there is Almighty God’s saying :” The example of those who spend their money for God’s sake is like an ear of wheat which produced seven ears of wheat in every ear of wheat there are one hundred grains. God doubles for whomever He wants, and God  gas broad knowledge.” (Surat Al-Baqarah, verse: 261) . Concerning moral  reinforcement, this appears in Almighty God’s saying:” They and their spouses are under the shades  and they recline on couches.” (Surat Yas, verse: 56).

Circadian Rhythm is considered one of the topics which have preoccupied man since ancient times. For whether there is life—whether this is man or animal or plant---the importance of Circadian Rhythm appears. If we look at sun flower—for example—in the early morning, we find that its flowers open, and it is in the direction of the east. In the evening it closes its flowers and it is in the direction of the west. Also winter hibernation and the change of skin  of some animals are considered an indicator of Circadian Rhythm . Concerning man, Circadian Rhythm is considered  one of the most important topics for those who work  according to the night shifts system whether they are physicians, or military  persons, or guards or aviators…. And other similar professions, in addition to athletes and their travel ( Qadumi, 2017). The Melatonin Hormone  which is secreted by the pineal gland  in the brain  is considered as the basis for this. This hormone is called “ the hormone of happiness”  due to the feeling of relaxation and rest in sleeping by the individual. The highest concentration of this hormone is in darkness between  the hours 2-4. Thus one of its names is “ the Hormone of Darkness) ( Pandi-Perumal et al., 2006). The biggest enemy of this hormone  is  lighting  (the light). Thus the one who is at a night shift should have a dark  environment at day time  in order to activate  the secretion of the Melatonin Hormone and to sleep  in the day time.

The Circadian Rhythm is defined  as being :”the continuous physiological  and bodily  changes which develops and is repeated in a series of cycles which does not end until death, and it can be measured through our  bodies.  Thorough knowledge of these rhythms and being aware of them are extremely important matters so that the individual can plan his life in a more positive way ( west, 1999).

The  Circadian Rhythm theory of living organisms appears clearly in the holy Quran in Almighty God’s saying: “ He said  who is your Lord O Moses* He said it is our Lord who gave everything which he created and then He gave right guidance* He said what about the early centuries* He said my Lord is knowledgeable of them in a book .My Lord does not lead astray and He does not forget.” (Taha: 49-52). Circadian Rhythm is considered important for athletes and for those who have disturbances in travel according to the lines of length and what is  known as the Jet Lag phenomenon (Armstrong, 2006). It is connected with the lines of length. It occurs to athletes who travel to play from one  country to another. It is accompanied by several disturbances the most important of which is: sleeping disturbance. Thus  the Melatonin Hormone is injected or this hormone is taken in the form of tablets in order to help the athletes  to sleep ( Reilly ,et al., 2007). In order that the body adjusts the biological clock and returns the daily  circadian rhythm to the natural situation and which suits the new country, it often needs one day for every (15) line of length which it passes through (that is for every time zone). Accordingly, this should be taken into consideration when specifying the date of travel and arrival for the  players. Also it is preferable that  the athlete avoids sleeping in day time specially at times in which he sleeps  in his native country (at night). This is so in order to accelerate the acclimatization of the biological clock for the

New country. Tea and coffee which contain caffeine can be drunk in order to increase the alertness of the nervous system and to control the time of sleeping (Reilly, et al., 2005).

Concerning the effect of the timing of travelling on the Circadian Rhythm , Waterhouse and others (Waterhouse,et al.,2002) studied a sample consisting of 85 persons who travelled from Britain  eastwards  to Australia ( 10 time zones). A group travelled in the evening and another group in the morning. The results revealed that the group which travelled in the morning  got rid of the Jet Lag phenomenon in a faster way than the group which travelled in the evening, although the group which travelled in the evening enjoyed a longer period of sleep during the journey. Concerning the effect of the Jet Lag phenomenon on the athletes, there is a consensus  among the studies of each of: (Peter, et al., 2017), (Maria, et al.,2016), (Sarah, et al., 2015) and (Fowler, 2015) on the existence of an effect in  the receding of the bodily performance, sleeping disturbances, negative mood, and feeling of tiredness.

Also the importance of the Circadian Rhythm appears in specifying the timing of training and athletic competitions, whereby there is a peak for bodily and physiological traits which should be taken into consideration. This was emphasized by the studies of each of  (Qadumi, 2017), (Davenne, 1998), (Reilly et al., 1997) and (Drust et al., 2005) when they pointed out that training and athletic performance in the hours of the evening are better than  those in the morning.

Interest among researchers in the athletic domain appeared  through studying the effect of the daily Circadian Rhythm on some bodily and physiological measurements. Deprivation from sleeping is considered one of the most influential factors on the Circadian Rhythm , and  subsequently there should be  a balance between sleeping and the effort in order to attain the  best Circadian Rhythm. For this reason  (Damien, 2009) presented a model to indicate the relationship between  sleeping and training as in Figure number (1) whereby   the model consists of two main parts  which are: the first part on the left side and it indicates the brain and controlling the rhythm of sleeping and rising from sleep, and the second part  on the right side of the Figure and it indicates the body of the athlete and the exercise. The relationship between the two parts appears through four arrows as in the Figure, and they are interpreted as follows: the firs arrow indicates the variance in the athletic Circadian Rhythm according to the biological clock , and it is connected to a large degree with how the athlete is  accustomed to getting up from sleeping. The second  arrow indicates how  exercise affects the Circadian Rhythm through modifying the biological clock of the person. The third arrow indicates the direct influence of sleeping on the athlete whether this influence is positive or negative on the performance. The fourth arrow indicates the direct influence of exercise on sleeping.
Figure number (1) The relationship between sleeping, exercise and the Circadian Rhythm of the person  (from : Damien, 2009).

The Symptoms of the Jet  Lag Phenomenon Among Athletes:
Following is a presentation of the most important symptoms of the Jet Lag (Jim, et al., 2007, p.1118)

___Weakness of sleep during the new night in the country travelled to, including the late beginning of sleeping (after travelling from the east) and the early awakening (after travelling to the west ) and the divided sleeping (after travelling in any of the two directions).
___Weakness of performance during the new day time in the bodily and mental tasks.
___Negative subjective changes, and these include increase in tiredness, mode of headache and excitement, and decrease in the ability to concentrate.
___Disturbances in the digestive system ( indigestion, urination, and defecation) and decrease in the interest in meals and enjoying them.
___Slow modification of the biological clock of the body with new time zone, because the Circadian Rhythm and the internal motor of sleeping and  wakefulness are outside the synchronization with the new environment.

Strategies for Treating the Jet  Lag phenomenon  and the Circadian Rhythm Among Athletes:
Till now there are only two strategies. The first strategy depends on injection or taking tablets which help to relax and to sleep. The other strategy depends on behavior modification  and the program prepared by the trainers for the players. The topic  still needs more effective strategies. Following is an indication for this:
  1. The First Strategy: Injection or Taking the Melatonin of the Caffeine  Tablets:
The first use of this strategy was in the military domain  by using short-acting hypnotics whereby some studies (Daurat et al.,2000) proved their effect on improving sleeping, bodily performance, and the contribution in lessening the Jet Lag among soldiers through influencing the biological clock of the soldiers.
There are some studies which indicated  the positive effect of the Melatonin  in treating the Jet Lag phenomenon, and this is through  injecting 3-5 milligrams 2-3 hours before sleeping (Cajochen, et al., 2003).
  1. The Second Strategy: Behavior modification in terms of organizing sleeping, taking meals, organizing defecation, and a daily program for these aspects among the players.

    1-among the players.
    Personal Opinion:
Through my knowledge of previous studies in the topic, I do not support such strategies. The  ideal strategy  depends on that each 15 lines of length is equivalent (a time zone) and each time zone is the equivalent of one day  for  the sake of adaptation among the athletes. Subsequently, it is the responsibility of the trainers to calculate the number of the days for staying in the country in which the championship is to be held before the championship in the light of calculating the time zones and travelling before the championship, in addition to behavior modification and avoiding injections or taking any tablets which help in relaxation and sleeping because their effect  on the performance cannot be controlled.

The Circadian Rhythm, Physical Fitness, Timing of Championships and Registering Record Numbers:
Qadumi  (2017) conducted a study which aimed to specify the effect of the Circadian Rhythm on the timing of the physical fitness training among the Bachelor degree students at Al-Istiqlal University in Jericho, Palestine (as a military-security-police university). This was at different times which are: 6:00 in the morning, 2:00 in the afternoon, 6:00 in the evening and 8:00 in the evening. In order to achieve this, the study was conducted on a sample consisting of (23) students who represent the athletic varsities in the University. The sample underwent  tests of hand grip strength, long jump, push-ups for one minute , sit-ups for one minute, and a test of 40 meters sprint. The general average of the performance of the individuals of the sample in these tests was as follows: (57.23 kg,2.32 meter, 45.73 times, 44.09 times, and 5.89 seconds). In addition, to the existence of statistically significant differences in all the measurements according to the timing of the measurement. The majority of the differences were in favor  of the 6: 00 hour  in the evening  as compared with the morning period. Perhaps the reason for the differences and for the benefit of the evening period is due to several factors the most important of which are: the rise in Body Core Temperature which is in the evening, and specifically  at 6:00 o’clock in the evening, and Motor Control is better in the evening as compared with the morning, little concentration of the Melatonin Hormone (Hormone of  Happiness) or (Hormone of Darkness ) in the evening  as compared with  6:00 o’clock in the morning and which reaches  the highest concentration at (2-4 o’clock) at night and its concentration continues in the morning hours and the individual feels  relaxed and restful. Its enemy is lighting. Thus sleeping is used  in cases of travelling for long distances  and for treating the disturbances of travel, the Jet Lag.

Based on the results of the study, the researcher recommended the necessity of taking into consideration  that the morning training for the physical fitness with the aim of development is considered unsuitable  and it is one of the wrong beliefs.  It should be as quiet exercises which aim to move from the stage of lethargy to the stage of activity in the daily life. As for the main training which aims  at developing the physical fitness for the students of the  military and polices colleges and for the athletes, it should be in the period between  2:00 o’clock in the afternoon and 8:00  o’clock in the evening. The best timing for the training of physical fitness is at 6:00 o’clock and it continues until 8:00 o’clock  in the evening, and then the level begins to recede . Conducting athletic competitions in the  morning period should be avoided, and so is the case with delaying in the evening period. This requires  that the local, Arab and international athletic union to take into consideration the timing of the games in the athletic championships, and reconsidering the timing of training  in order to attain the best possible achievement and adopting the international Olympic records  according to the Circadian Rhythm in the evening period.

In the light of what was previously mentioned and due to the importance of knowing the Circadian Rhythm and the Jet Lag phenomenon  among the athletes, I recommend the following:
1.Rooting the  athletic sciences by going back in the scientific researches on the  part of the fellow researchers to the Holy Quran and the noble prophetic tradition as far as possible.
2. Studying in depth the effect of the Circadian Rhythm  on the athletic performance and registering record numbers, specifying the date of athletic championships and the necessity of reviewing all the record numbers according to the timing of registering them in the morning or in the evening.
3. Avoiding  physical fitness training with the aim of development in the morning for the players of the higher levels, and  fitness  in the morning only in order to move from non-activity to activity and to practice the daily life.
4. Looking for better strategies in order to treat the Jet Lag phenomenon and avoiding injections or taking the Melatonin tablets  because their side effects on the performance are not known.
5. Benefiting from calculating the time zones in specifying the days on which the players should be in the country in which the championship  is held.
6. Studying the change in the concentration level of the enzymes and  hormones according to the Circadian Rhythm among the players.
7. The necessity of preparing  a daily program for the players according to the direction of the travelling (eastwards or westwards) in order to help the players to adapt early and to treat the Jet Lag phenomenon without using any helping materials such as the caffeine or the Melatonin.

Some Suggested References:
_Qadumi, Abdul-Nasser Abdul-Rahim (2017): The effect of the daily Circadian Rhythm on the timing of  the physical fitness training  for the students of the police and military colleges ( a research accepted for publication), The Arab  Journal for Security Studies and Training, Nayif Arab University for Security Sciences , Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.(in Arabic).
-Armstrog.L.(2006). Nutritional strategies for football: Counteracting heat, cold, high altitude, and jet lag. Journal of Sports Sciences, 24(7): 723 - 740.
-Cajochen C, Krauchi K & Wirz-Justice A.(2003). Role of melatonin in the regulation of human circadian rhythms and sleep. Journal of Neuroendocrinol; 15: 432–37.
-Damien D.(2009). Sleep of athletes - problems and possible solutions. Biological Rhythm Research, 40( 1) , 45-52.
-Daurat A, Benoit O, Buguet A.(2000): Effects of zopiclone on the rest/activity rhythm after a westward flight across five time zones. Psychopharmacology ; 149: 241-45.
-Fowler P, Duffield R, Vaile J.(2015): Effects of simulated domestic and international airtravel on sleep, performance, and recovery for team sports. Scand J Med Sci Sports; 25(3):441-451.
-Gauthier, A., D. Davenne, A. Martin, & J. Van Hoecke.(2001). Time of day effects on isometric and isokinetic torque developed during elbow flexion in humans. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 84:249 -252.
-Jim Waterhouse, Thomas Reilly, Greg Atkinson & Ben Edwards. (2007). Jet lag: trends and coping strategies. Lancet ; 369: 1117-1129.
-Maria-Raquel G. Silva, António Pascoal, Hugo-Henrique Silva & Teresa Paiva ,(2016) :Assessing sleep, travelling habits and jet lag in kite surfers according to competition level, Biological Rhythm Research, 47:5, 677-689.
-Pandi-Perumal SR, Srinivasan V, Maestroni GJ, Cardinali DP, Poeggeler B & Hardeland R. (2006). Melatonin: Nature's most versatile biological signal? FEBS J 273, 2813-2838.
-Peter M. Fowlera, Alan McCallb, Mark Jonesb &Rob Duffield.(2017): Effects of long-haul transmeridian travel on player preparedness: Case study of a national team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 20 , 322–327.
-Reilly T, Atkinson G, Edwards B, Waterhouse J, Farrelly K, &Fairhurst E. (2007). Diurnal variation in temperature, mental and physical performance and tasks specifically related to football (soccer). Chronobiology International. 24:507-519.
 -Reilly, T, Greg, A, Ben E, Jim, W, Torbjo R ,and etal.(2007). Coping with jet-lag: A Position Statement for the European College of Sport Science. European Journal of Sport Science, 7(1): 1-7.
-Reilly, T., Edwards, B., Waterhouse, J., & Atkinson, G. (2005). Jet lag and air travel: Implications for performance. Clinics in Sports Medicine, 24, 367- 380.
-Sarah Kölling, Gunnar Treff, Kay Winkert, Alexander Ferrauti, Tim Meyer,Mark Pfeiffer & Michael Kellmann, (2016): The effect of westward travel across five time zones on sleep and subjective jet-lag ratings in athletes before and during the 2015’s World Rowing Junior Championships, Journal of Sports Sciences,
-West, p. (1999). Biorhythms a step - by - step Guide . shuffles bury , Dorset , Boston , U.S,A.

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