Sleeping in Space?

When we think of outer space the first thing that comes to mind is the vastness of the area. A vastness with no end in sight, in other words limitless.

All kids at one time or another want or think about becoming an astronaut. Of course very few follow that dream it’s not an easy profession to get into.

Today the requirements for becoming an astronaut are vastly different than before. In the fifty’s for instance you would need flight experience, a background in engineering and be shorter than 5′ 11”.

But by 1964, NASA began searching for scientists to become astronauts. One qualification for a scientist-astronauts was a doctorate in medicine, engineering, or natural science.

Although this is still acceptable it’s not the only way. Today a US citizen must meet the following criteria. A bachelors degree in biological science, engineering, physical or computer science.

The candidate must also have at least 3 years of related experience, or 1000 hours of pilot in command

time on jet aircraft and the ability to pass the NASA long duration physical.

When they finally become an astronaut and go to outer space it’s not a simple life there’s lots to do. Plenty of maintenance and experiments to do as well as 3 meals a day and 2.5 hours of physical activity

At the end of a long day comes time for sleep, how does an astronaut sleep? How do they stop their bodies floating around after all there’s no gravity.

The solution is simple, they sleep in small compartments around the size of a phone booth, strapped loosely in a sleeping bag. They may sleep without floating away and in any direction they wish.

Each personal sleep compartment is equipped with a sleeping bag, pillow, a lamp, an air vent, a personal laptop, and a place for their personal belongings.

Astronauts are allotted 8 hrs of sleep per day but often sleep for only 6 hrs. Ear plugs and eye masks are often used due to the noise from air conditioners and other machinery.

Some astronauts prefer to sleep outside their personal compartments, they can secure their sleeping bag to the floor, the ceiling or the wall. In space it’s just as comfy sleeping on the floor as it is the wall.

Since people are used to sleeping on a mattress the astronauts sleeping bag has a rigid cushion to exert pressure on their back allowing a better sleep.

Although it may seem a strange way to sleep for us, the astronauts report felling totally refreshed, and who knows one day we may all sleep that way.