How do astronauts sleep in space?

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This week's question comes from a rather small Sealy fan who has made a rather cool observation-

"If there is no gravity in space, and everything is weightless, then how do astronauts lie down to sleep and keep their blankets on?"

It turns out that some American Astonauts have their own website and blogs where they write about everything in their daily lives- including how they sleep. This information was gathered off that site.

Astronauts have some serious struggles when it comes to sleeping in space.

sleep in space copy

Struggle 1: Light

For the astronauts living in the International Space Station, they witness 16 sunsets and sunrises in a 24 hour period. This means they really have no way of telling if it is day/night or if they should be awake or sleeping. Luckily, there are alarms set that help them have a structured routine. They get 8 hours of sleep and use eye masks or shutters to block out the unwanted light from any sunsets/sunrises happening during that time.

Struggle 2: Weightlessness

There is no up or down in space and so astonauts can't lie down to sleep. Instead, when astronauts want to sleep they have to strap themselves into sleep sacs which are attached to walls or ceilings to stop themselves from floating freely while they sleep. They do this by using big velcro straps or even nets. Anything that is not secured under these fastenings will float up eg. blankets, pillows or their arms.

Struggle 3: Air

There is no air in space and so the space station has to be ventilated with the right mixture of air gases. Sleeping in this air is a little more complicated, however, as if the air is not circulating well, then stale air called carbon dioxide that they exhale will form a bubble and hang around their head stopiing them from breathing in fresh air. This would make them wake up feeling sick and breathless. Not a nice feeling! And so the air in the area that they sleep must be circulating well.

So folks this is how astronauts sleep in space- with a lot of thought, planning, fastening and alarm clocks!


Whilst, mattresses or out of the question, I wonder if any of the Sealy top of the bed products have made it into space? The mattress protectors and pillows are out of this world after all!

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