It is a long and tiring day at work and you simply cannot wait for the day to end. Once you reach home, all you want to do is just crash on your bed. Well, that’s the story of our daily lives. But have you ever wondered how do astronauts sleep in space?
Astronauts are busy people and their day revolves around researching about outer space objects which drains them out mentally and physically. But how different is it to hit the sack in space as compared to that on Earth? Let’s find out to know more!
How do Astronauts Sleep in Space?
If you thought that there would be a massive difference between sleeping in space versus sleeping on Earth, then brace yourselves for a rude shock! According to NASA scientists and experienced astronauts, there is hardly a difference between sleeping in space or on our planet.
Astronauts sleep just like any other normal human being in space. However, the only difference is the presence of microgravity which means that astronauts can sleep in any direction and in any orientation. While this may sound extremely cool to experience, it is equally hazardous for an astronaut to sleep without proper support.
Here is a must watch beautiful video of ‘Inside International Space Station’ for every space enthusiasts. NASA Astronaut Sunita Williams gives us the best inside tour of the International Space Station (ISS). How do astronauts live on the ISS How do Astronauts Sleep in Space? How How do they go to the bathroom? How to the eat food? What Kinds of special equipment and technology do they need and use?
To avoid bumping into anything onboard the space station, astronauts are provided with sleeping bags strapped to the wall by the space station to maintain their gravitational balance. The presence of specially designed crew cabins gives them even more space for maximum comfort and minimum trouble on board.
There truly is a stark difference between how we sleep and how do astronauts sleep in space. I’m sure if you and I were to do it then we would all be flying like leaves in autumn!
What is the Daily Sleep Routine of an Astronaut?
You have read about how do astronauts sleep in space, but what exactly is the sleep routine and circadian rhythm of an astronaut? Let’s explore further to know more!
As mentioned earlier, astronauts are human beings and behave simply like anyone of us. They sleep for about eights hours a day and may wake up in the middle of the night to use the washroom or simply stay up to look at the aesthetic view outside.
They are provided with a chart by their space stations which allows them to monitor various aspects such as wake and sleep time, diet, exercise, etc. to ensure that they are healthy and fit at all times. Other factors which contribute to an effective sleep cycle in space include lighting, airflow, noise, and special restraints which prevent things from floating in mid air and disturbing them.
Apart from that astronauts need to undergo extensive mental training to train their minds to maintain a different circadian rhythm due to the difference in sunrise and sunset in space. With so many difficulties and challenges, it is no joke in wondering how do astronauts sleep in space?
What are the Major Problems that Astronauts face while Sleeping in Space?
Astronauts are faced with a host of issues while they sleep in space and how do astronauts sleep in space is simply a commendable feat in itself. While we may think that it is extremely fancy to sleep in space, there comes with it a plethora of problems while doing so.
Many astronauts have reported instances of excessive nightmares while sleeping in space which hampers their altered sleep cycle massively. There have also been instances where they have experienced extreme amounts of anxiety and motion sickness which can act as a massive deterrent to their wellbeing.
However, one of the most bizarre side-effects one can observe is that of snoring. Most astronauts and cosmonauts have complained of unwanted snoring while onboard. Astronauts who have had no major history of snoring started snoring when asked to sleep in space. This side-effect being minor in nature is generally overlooked and is resolved with passage of time.
The major challenges of how do astronauts sleep in space are aplenty but despite all of that they manage to pull it off with ease.
Are there any Major Health Risks of Sleeping in Space?
While life in space may be awesome to imagine, there comes with it its fair share of biological hazards. The first of the many hazards include alteration in the balance of bodily fluids and since most of our body is made up of blood and water, there is a higher risk of developing rare and multiple disorders while staying lightyears away from home.
Another major health concern would be that of lack of ventilation. Considering the method of how do astronauts sleep in space and the absence of natural oxygen, it becomes imperative that their cabins are well-ventilated. If not, there is a chance that an astronaut may die of asphyxia.
There also various problems which astronauts have to deal with when in outer space, such as disturbance in circadian rhythm, exposure to higher amounts of radiation, fatigue, abnormal environmental changes, gene alteration, etc.
If you thought your insomnia was a major challenge on Earth, think of how do astronauts sleep in space?
How are the Problems Resolved?
As they say, every problem has a solution to it and the sleep problems of astronauts come with a bagful of quick and modern solutions to it. To resolve their anxiety issues, astronauts are asked to undergo a Sleep Cognitive Behavioural Therapy where they are counselled and trained on how to sleep in space comfortably.
Another major challenge that astronauts face is a lack of sunlight and awareness of the biological clock. To counter that, they are provided with artificial lights in their cabins which mimics the sun’s rays and keeps them aware of their biological responses whilst providing them with Vitamin D a the same time.
The third problem of how do astronauts sleep in space is that of nausea and motion sickness. This is generally faced by them in the initial stages and astronauts are asked to undergo a special training program which teaches them how to sleep and adapt to anti-gravitational surroundings.
In case if astronauts fail to fall asleep even after naturally tried and tested methods, they are given sleeping pills such as Zolpedim and Zalpelon which enables them to sleep in the blink of an eye. This is how most of the how do astronauts sleep in space issues are resolved.
While we may all go gung-ho over the very thought of spending life in space, it is far from as easy as we think. Sleep is one of the most basic necessities of the human body and a lack of it can spark major health issues.
How do astronauts sleep in space is something that we can only imagine and do nothing else about it. And if you ever think about sleeping in space, remember that if you can’t catch your Z’s on Earth, how would you do it in space?