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Study Finds That Astronauts Are Severely Sleep Deprived 106

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Researchers tracked the sleep patterns of 85 crew members aboard the International Space Station and space shuttle and found that despite an official flight schedule mandating 8.5 hours of sleep per night, they rarely got more than five. In fact, getting a full night's rest was so difficult that three-quarters of shuttle mission crew members used sleep medication, and sometimes entire teams were sedated on the same night. Given that sleep deprivation contributes to up to 80% of aviation accidents, it's important to better understand why sleep is so difficult in space, the authors say."
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Study Finds That Astronauts Are Severely Sleep Deprived

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 08, 2014 @05:33PM (#47633709)

    I'd want to soak up every minute of it. Maybe they should look into the mechanism called: "It's frickin awesome."

  • Re:Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 08, 2014 @06:04PM (#47633979)

    Apparently I sleep like an astronaut.

    Yeah, no kidding. I didn't think five hours was all that odd these days.

  • by StikyPad ( 445176 ) on Friday August 08, 2014 @06:51PM (#47634265) Homepage

    Excitement may be a factor, but I suspect fear and stress are the more powerful factors. Most adults don't stay up in anticipation of the excitement of Christmas, but they will lose sleep over upcoming deadlines, during financial difficulty, etc. I suspect it's pretty stressful being in space, between performing mission requirements, being separated from loved ones, and being protected from death by only a few mm of aluminum, not to mention the anticipation of re-entry. Add to that the lack of privacy and alone time, the alien physiological sensation of weightlessness, and restraints and tethers to prevent floating around. I suspect that comfort is in short supply, and that it may well be difficult to truly relax in such an alien environment.

  • by sillybilly ( 668960 ) on Friday August 08, 2014 @07:23PM (#47634649)
    I agree that sensory deprivation must be the cause of sleeplessness for the astronauts. I for one have a hard time sleeping without any covers, no matter how hot the weather is, and I may be sweating, but I can't sleep without something pressing down on my skin, and even in the heat, a simple thin bedsheet, which is much colder, is not as good from the comfortable pressure feeling perspective, as a thicker sleeping bag material, except for the heat part, so I do use the thin sheets when I have to, but if in any way bearable, even if very hot, I go for the sleeping bag material. Modern camping sleeping bags from Walmart are nice in that you can wash and dry them very fast, and they take full strength dose of bleach in the washer, and do not degrade, unlike colored traditional linen or even white linen that yellow after prolonged numerous bleachings, plus they are too heavy, and not soft, fluffy enough. Old school goose feather packed fluffy beddings are very thick (and for that they may cause sweating in the summer but work in extreme winter without stove heat in single layer as opposed to Walmart sleeping bags needing to be doubled or tripled up to build the thickness), but harder to wash, bleach and dry.

    In the weightlessness of space nothing presses against the body and skin to any degree. I could not sleep well like that. One way to solve it is to take a 55 gallon drum, or something bigger, and spin it, create microgravity like that, but the air friction becomes an issue, plus dizziness from uneven centrifugal forces as small radii, compared to a 300 meter radius spinning cylinder space station. Another way to create skin pressure is to use inflatable things, that look like sleeping bags, inflated to just the right pressure, not too tight, not too loose, just comfortable. I used to have inflatable air beds from walmart, and they were awesome comfortable down here in Earth's gravity, especially when they haven't been inflated for days or weeks, and slightly deflated, but without exception somebody comes into the house and pokes a hole into them when I'm not at home, or when I'm asleep, to where they end up totally deflated and it feels as if you are sleeping on the bare hard floor. So inflatable sleeping bags for now, maybe some kind of small radius slow spinning device that does not cause too much dizziness, and 300 meter radius rotating space stations with sleeping bags in the future, is the solution. That's my 2 cents, or more like 2.1 cents due to inflation.

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