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Avoid insomnia – don’t become an astronaut!

According to researchers at Harvard Medical School in Boston, astronauts get less than six hours of sleep on orbiting space shuttles and barely more than six hours when on the International Space Station - even though NASA allots 8.5 hours of sleep for all space-traveling astronauts.

Furthermore, about 75% of astronauts are using sleeping pills during spaceflight - which is a concern when you consider the potential side-effects of sleeping pills (and sleep deprivation itself).

So why aren't astronauts getting more sleep? One theory is that since the sun rises and sets every 90 minutes for orbiting astronauts, the body's circadian rhythm is pushed out-of-synch. Another theory argues that microgravity may be to blame.

Here's hoping this study prompts additional research on the physiology of sleep. The more we understand about sleep (regardless of where it takes place), the better.

Source: The Lancet

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Last updated: May 4, 2015

This Article Was Written By

Martin Reed

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