Discover the secrets of a good night’s rest in space as we explore how astronauts sleep. Dive into the fascinating world of sleep in zero gravity, the challenges they face, and the innovative solutions used on space missions. Uncover the science behind astronaut sleep patterns, sleep environment, and the importance of quality sleep for their well-being.
Have you ever wondered how astronauts manage to get a peaceful sleep in the zero-gravity environment of space missions? From sleep environment adaptations to the importance of sleep for their overall well-being, we are going to journey through the cosmos to unravel the mysteries of astronaut slumber. Prepare for a captivating insight into the unique world of sleep in space and discover how astronauts catch their Zs amidst the wonders of the universe.
Where do astronauts sleep?
Unlike the comfy, larger-sized beds most of us are used to, astronauts have it a little different when preparing for bed. For astronauts, their sleeping arrangements consist of finding their sleeping station, or sleeping pod. This consists of a small, enclosed space where they can secure themselves using straps or velcro to prevent floating around during sleep.
As opposed to the comfy bed, astronauts use a sleeping bag Again, strapped loosely on the body to prevent floating around.
Imagine this change from what we know in regular life on Earth.
How long do astronauts sleep?
Astronauts, like us, try to get around 8 to 8 and a half hours of sleep. Though this is the goal, many report only sleeping for 6. They claim that they only need 6 hours to feel fully rested. Specialists claim that this is most likely because the body isn’t as tired as is on Earth considering the lack of weight felt in a spaceship. “…the muscles don’t have to work as hard as on Earth.”
Fun fact, astronauts don’t even need to use pillows because of the lack of gravity making the astronauts weightless.
Do astronauts have trouble sleeping?
Considering the change in scenery, one would likely assume that sleep in space could be hard to attain. Circadian rhythm, our inner clocks that promote the sleep-wake cycle is majorly affected in space so it is reasonable to think sleep is hard to do.
Luckily, the sleeping pods we mentioned before do their best to prevent the astronauts from being disturbed by environmental factors such as:
- Carbon dioxide
While this does help, of course, sleep routine is another call into question. When orbiting around the Earth, “…astronauts witness 16 sunrises and sunsets every 24 hours.” You can imagine this causing some issues with consistent sunlight. Like us though, astronauts also tend to use eye masks and noise blockers of sorts to best keep themselves in the rhythm of sleep.
To deal with this, astronauts use Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). This is the standard time for scientific, aviation, meteorological, and military purposes. This helps astronauts to keep a regular sleep schedule.
Astronomy wrote an article about sleeping in space. This quote from Scott Kelly, a retired astronaut who spent 520 days in space, may give you some insight into an astronaut’s experience sleeping.
“Eventually, I was sleeping with my head kind of Velcroed to a cushion, so it feels like your head is up against a pillow,” says Scott Kelly. An astronaut’s sleeping quarters needs good ventilation. In the weightless environment of space, astronauts expel carbon dioxide that could form a bubble around their heads. They sleep near an air vent to avoid this potential lack of oxygen to the brain. Brain cells are sensitive. In less than five minutes, brain cells can start to die without oxygen. Brain hypoxia can cause brain damage, or worse, death. Space is silent, but a spacecraft is not. Space is dark, but the sun is not. Astronauts wear earplugs to combat the noise and face masks to combat bright light. The ISS goes 17,100 miles per hour. That means an astronaut aboard it can see 15 or 16 sunrises a day. As Scott Kelly notes, “Even though you have window shades on the windows, the sun in space is really bright, and it seeps through them.”
As most may have inferred, sleeping in space is most likely on the lower end of the scale when it comes to enjoyability.
How do you think you would sleep in space?
With this information in mind, think about how you might handle situations like this. Would you need time to adjust or would you be excited? Consider all of the things you currently use to fall asleep. Your favorite blanket, pillow, or maybe even your pet? All of those things would be unavailable!
Would you take your Relaxium Sleep with you? We know we would consider it would help you to fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and have you waking up feeling refreshed and alert for your next mission in space.
Luckily for all of us, there are plenty of astronauts out there who are fully trained and equipped to deal with the scenarios that would likely stress the average person out.
Let’s leave the professionals to it
With all of the factors that play a part while trying to survive in space, one thing is still true, we all need sleep; even off of the planet! We hope this has been an interesting read being that the pure job of being an astronaut is so interesting. Think about what you learned the next time you are sleeping in your gravity-held, comfy bed!
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To restful and healthy days ahead.
The Relaxium Team
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.