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While most of us know a few things about life in space, one aspect that most people do not even think about is sleeping. Astronauts can spend up to six months living in space, which means that they would spend about two of those months asleep. So what is it like sleeping in space?
In a word: difficult. For starters, not only do you have to sleep in a bag that is stuck to the wall, you have to have the pillow stuck to your head otherwise it would drift away. Zero gravity makes life incredibly hard and sleeping is not different.
Also, our bodies have evolved to match the patterns of light and day we experience on the Earth, but in space, depending on the orbit, astronauts will experience totally different cycles of day and night. For example, on the international space station, they orbit the Earth every 90 minutes, meaning they experience 16 sunrises and sunsets every 24 hours. This plays havoc with their body clocks and makes it really hard to get to sleep.
Another problem is the noise. When you think of space, you generally imagine it to be really quite, and while space itself is quite, the machines people live in when they are in space are far from quiet. They are so noisy that all astronauts wear earplugs to block the sounds out.
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