NASA Tries to Make Sleeping in a Space Station Not Suck

An astronaut wearing one of the wrist monitoring devices used in the study.

If you were one of those kids that wanted to be an astronaut, you probably had incredibly glorified daydreams about living on space station. As an astronaut on a space station, you’d get to eat freeze-dried ice cream, float around without gravity, and fight aliens (of course). Even as an adult, you might have thought — life on a space station can’t be that bad, can it?

While most space station crews have been loathe to complain, a few have opened up about the necessary change in priorities for space-living. One of these problems — which can actually be a dangerous problem for astronauts — is a lack of sleep. While sleeping in zero-gravity itself is a challenge, astronauts often have trouble sleeping in the atmosphere of a space station.

NASA has identified this problem, which has prompted the “Sleep — Wake Actigraphy and Light Exposure During Spaceflight — Long Investigation”. This study is currently following several astronauts, collecting data about their sleep habits during missions and spaceflight. NASA hopes that the results of this study will help them improve the quality of sleep for their astronauts, which will in turn improve the safety of the crew.


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