Associations Between Jet Lag and Cortisol Diurnal Rhythms After Domestic Travel

Leah D. Doane, William S. Kremen, Lindon J. Eaves, Seth A. Eisen, Richard Hauger, Dirk Hellhammer, Seymour Levine, Sonia Lupien, Michael J. Lyons, Sally Mendoza, Elizabeth Prom-Wormley, Hong Xian, Timothy P. York, Carol E. Franz, Kristen C. Jacobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective: Millions of adults in the United States travel abruptly across time zones each year. Nevertheless, the impact of traveling over relatively short distances (across 3 or fewer time zones) on diurnal patterning of typical physiological response patterns has yet to be studied in a large, epidemiological sample. Design: The current research focuses on 764 middle-aged men comparing variations in diurnal cortisol regulation based on number of time zones traveled eastward or westward the day before. Main Outcome Measure: Participants provided samples of salivary cortisol at waking, 30-min postwaking, 10 a.m., 3 p.m., and bedtime. Results: Eastward travel was associated with a steeper salivary cortisol awakening response (p < .01) and lower peak (PEAK) levels of salivary cortisol the next morning (p < .05). Westward travel was associated with lower peak levels of cortisol the next morning (p < .05). Effect sizes for these differences ranged from Cohen's d = .29 to .47. Differences were not present for 2 days in their home environment. Conclusions: The results provide evidence that traveling across time zones is associated with diurnal cortisol regulation and should be studied further to understand the subsequent impacts on health and well-being in large national samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-123
Number of pages7
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • cortisol diumal rhythms
  • jet lag
  • travel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Associations Between Jet Lag and Cortisol Diurnal Rhythms After Domestic Travel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this