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Ever Wondered How Astronauts Sleep In Space? This is How!

You don’t need to be an astronaut to know there is no gravity in space; we all learned that in school. This fact is cool until you think about how astronauts do basic things like sleeping. Since fatigue can lead to mistakes that could be costly, astronauts must sleep on the spacecraft during their travel. Of course, it’s nothing like sleeping on your bed. This article will explain all about sleeping in space.

Do they just lie down and sleep?

Astronauts often set aside time for sleep during their space travel. Of course, astronauts don’t sleep the way they sleep at home. While in space, astronauts can sleep in any position- it’s not a bedroom situation.

However, the catch is that they have to attach themselves to something to prevent floating around and sustaining injuries. Their arms must also be secured so they don’t move around mid-sleep. They usually sleep in sleeping bags attached to their spacecraft.

Is sleeping in space comfortable?

Aside from the fact that securing their sleeping bags to the spacecraft helps avoid floating, other factors affect comfort while sleeping. Most times, astronauts experience sleeping problems while in space- they often don’t sleep well.

Courtesy: Verywell Mind

The sleeping cabin of each astronaut is as small as a phone booth- so there’s not much space. That’s why, before their travel, astronauts always get sleep training to help them sleep well. Aside from this training, they also often take sleeping pills.

The biggest problem with astronauts’ sleep

While sleeping in space isn’t anything like sleeping at home, the main issue astronauts often face isn’t their sleeping positions or the lack of a bed. The main problem is their body systems.

Courtesy: News In Levels

Since it’s always dark in space, the body gets confused about the distinction between night and day. As a result of not knowing when it’s time for sleep, their bodies find it difficult to relax enough to sleep.

Adjusting the body’s alarm clock

As mentioned earlier, there are several dark areas in space, so it’s mostly dark. However, NASA often takes different steps to improve astronauts’ sleep in space. Adjusting the lighting is one of them.

Courtesy: NASA

During the day, the lighting in the spacecraft is adjusted to increase activity and alertness. Then, at night, the lights are changed or programmed to become relaxing. NASA also encourages astronauts to follow strict sleep schedules.

After returning to Earth, what happens?

Just like the other changes experienced by the body while in space, there are consequences that astronauts have to face. When it comes to their sleep, it might take their bodies a while to adjust to not floating.

Courtesy: RocketSTEM

Although this won’t take so long, it significantly affects the quality of their sleep for the first few days of being back on Earth. Then, the body’s natural alarm takes over, and things gradually return to normal.

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