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5 Sleeping Tips Used by Real-Life Astronauts
Is getting sleep an everyday struggle for you? Then consider how hard it is to sleep in space!
When in the upper atmosphere, astronauts experience as many as 15 to 16 sunrises a day. This makes it hard for them to decipher when it’s time to hit the hay.
To top it off, astronauts can’t even lay down because there’s no gravity. But despite it all, they still manage to have a good night’s kip.
We can all learn a thing or two from astronauts on getting quality shut-eye…
What’s a Circadian Rhythm?
Before we can learn from the astronauts, we need to understand circadian rhythm. It’s the internal clock that controls your sleep cycle.
Your circadian rhythm affects feelings of drowsiness and/or alertness across a 24-hour day. When you learn how to control your circadian rhythm, you can get better sleep.
Astronauts are pros at controlling their circadian rhythms. So, it’s wise to mimic their sleeping habits.
1. Astronauts Are Committed to Learning About Sleep
We all know, driving while tired is dangerous. That’s not just on Earth. It’s critical that astronauts are well-rested so they can properly maneuver their spaceship.
This is one of the many reasons why NASA is committed to researching new ways to improve the quality of sleep that astronauts get.
These days, people- both on Earth and in space- wear watches that can track their sleeping patterns.
Similarly, there are tons of smartphone apps that you can use to check your
sleeping schedule. With that information, you can start to understand the primary factors impacting the quality of your sleep.
Common Factors Include:
- Not getting proper exercise
- Over-exposure to screens around bedtime
- Not eating a good-quality diet
All these factors are crucial to maintaining a regular circadian rhythm.
When you commit to learning how to get a better night’s sleep, you’ll improve the quality of your rest.
2. Astronauts Have Fabulous Sleeping Environments
Things you can do to help optimize your own sleep include:
- Installing blackout curtains or wear a sleep mask
- Setting your bedroom to a cool, comfortable temperature
- Putting your cell phone on silent
3. Astronauts Schedule Their Time
It’s important to keep a sleeping schedule that complements your natural circadian rhythm.
Your body will naturally adjust to a 24-hour cycle. But in outer space, the sun rises and sets numerous times a day. That makes it hard to maintain a 24-hour sleep schedule.
Astronauts train themselves to adhere to a 24-hour circadian rhythm. They also stick to a strict sleeping schedule, diet, and exercise. All these good habits are crucial for keeping your sleep on track.
On Earth, sleeping and waking at the same time each day helps you to maintain your internal body clock. By maintaining your body clock, you can enjoy better quality sleep.
4. Astronauts Take Melatonin
More than 75% of astronauts take melatonin to help regulate their sleep. Melatonin is a hormone our brains naturally produce, that causes drowsiness.
If you think you would benefit from taking melatonin, make an appointment to speak with a doctor.
5. Astronauts Take Sleep Therapy Seriously
Want to Sleep like an Astronaut?
Remember, if you’re struggling to get to sleep, learn to control your circadian rhythm. Then you can enjoy a more regular sleeping pattern.
If you can, optimize the environment you’re sleeping in. And if you need to, talk to a physician about trying melatonin.
After all, if astronauts can sleep in space, you can sleep here on Earth!
(1) "Can’t sleep? Try dozing off in zero gravity!" Sleep.org, www.sleep.org/articles/how-astronauts-sleep/. Accessed 12 Feb. 2018.
(2) Weitering, Hanneke.“Sleeping in Space: How Astronauts Get a Good Night's Rest." Space.com, 16 Mar. 2017, www.space.com/35293-how-astronauts-sleep-in-space.html