What is it like to sleep in space?

Lots More Information

Author's Note: What is it like to sleep in space?

I like when I get to write about NASA; NASA research has changed the way we live in our daily lives, with inventions from shoe insoles and scratch-resistant lenses to ear thermometers and water filters. They've also given us memory foam. That's the temper foam found in Tempurpedic (and similar) mattresses, which seems ironic considering sleep deprivation and insomnia are big problems for astronauts living in space.

Something like 9 million Americans rely on prescription sleep-inducing meds to get a decent night's sleep, and that's not even counting those of us who try teas, over-the-counter remedies, or just suffer through it. The next time you can't get comfortable in your bed and find yourself thinking that surely an anti-gravity pod would be more comfortable than your mattress, think again -- insomnia plagues humans in space, too.

Related Articles

More Great Links


  • Canadian Space Agency. "Sleeping in Space." Aug. 18, 2006, (Aug. 25, 2013) http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/astronauts/living_sleeping.asp
  • Canright, Shelley. "Teaching From Space: A Day in the Life Aboard the International Space Station - Exercising in Space." National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). June 4, 2013. (Aug. 25, 2013) http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/teachingfromspace/dayinthelife/exercise-adil-index.html
  • Dinges, David. "Sleep in Space: Breathe Easy -- Sleep Less?" American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Philadelphia, Penn.: University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine. Vol. 164, Num. 3, p. 337-338. August 2001. http://ajrccm.atsjournals.org/cgi/content/full/164/3/337
  • Dismukes, Kim. "STS-100 Wakeup Calls." National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) -- Human Space Flight. April 9, 2002. (Aug. 25, 2013) http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/audio/shuttle/sts-100/html/ndxpage1.html
  • European Space Agency. "Astronauts: Daily Life." July 19, 2004. http://www.esa.int/esaHS/ESAH1V0VMOC_astronauts_0.html
  • European Space Agency (ESA). "Living in Space: Sleeping in space." (Aug. 25, 2013) http://www.esa.int/esaKIDSen/SEMAIP6TLPG_LifeinSpace_0.html
  • Halvorson, John. "Zvezda, the new crew quarters for the International Space Station will rank right up there with the penthouse at the Ritz." Space.com. July 5, 2000. http://www.space.com/news/spacestation/zvezda_life_000705.html
  • Kauderer, Amiko. "International Space Station: Do You Know Where Your Space Station Is?" National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Oct. 23, 2010. (Aug. 25, 2013) http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition19/earth_day.html
  • Kauderer, Amiko. "International Space Station: Sandra Magnus' Journal - A Typical Day." National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Oct. 23, 2010. (Aug. 25, 2013) http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition18/journal_sandra_magnus_5.html
  • Kauderer, Amiko. "International Space Station: Station Status." National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). March 18, 2013. (Aug. 25, 2013) http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition34/e34_undock.html
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration. "Zvezda Service Module." http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/sm.html
  • Petty, John. "Space Sleep." National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Aug. 11, 2003. http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/living/spacesleep/index.html
  • Rosen, Rebecca J. "What It's Like for Astronauts to Sleep in Space." The Atlantic. Feb. 13, 2013. (Aug. 25, 2013) http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/02/what-its-like-for-astronauts-to-sleep-in-space/273146/
  • Sample, Ian. "Life aboard the International Space Station." The Guardian. Oct. 24, 2010. (Aug. 25, 2013) http://www.theguardian.com/science/2010/oct/24/international-space-station-nasa-astronauts
  • Wilson, Jim. "International Space Station." National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Aug. 20, 2013. (Aug. 25, 2013) http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html
  • Worth, Katie. "Casting Light on Astronaut Insomnia: ISS to Get Sleep-Promoting Lightbulbs." Scientific American. Dec. 4, 2012. (Aug. 25, 2013) http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=casting-light-on-astronaut-insomnia-iss-to-get-sleep-promoting-lightbulbs

More to Explore