We generally underestimate sleep, but the situation can change if we start having trouble with sleep. NASA astronauts know very well what a sleep disorder is, as they often suffer from insomnia.
To avoid these situations, scientists have developed a method of falling asleep that has been shown to be effective in space and on Earth.
We will talk about sleep patterns and NASA astronaut rules that will help you forget about insomnia.
The Sleep Secrets Of Astronauts
7. Always Go To Bed And Get Up At The Same Time
The International Space Station orbits Earth every 90 minutes (meaning the sun rises 16 times a day). That is why astronauts constantly suffer from sleep disorders in the circadian rhythm.
NASA scientists believe that the most effective way to deal with this problem is to lie down and wake up at the same time.
Before traveling into space, astronauts have their own sleep schedule designed according to their rhythms and patterns.
To follow a certain sleep schedule, you can use a computer program that automatically turns off your devices at a predetermined time.
You will get used to your schedule and feel better and healthier throughout the day.
And if you lie on your back with your legs stretched out against the wall for 10 minutes before bed, your venous flow will improve and you will feel relaxed and calm.
6. Quit Bad Habits That Affect Your Sleep
The process of falling asleep mainly depends on the things we do before going to sleep.
Nighttime exercises or gymnastics activate all the processes in our body and increase body temperature, so a person needs more time to fall asleep and their sleep becomes unstable.
That is why astronauts reduce physical activity a few hours before bed. They also stop eating heavy food, so the digestion process does not consume energy.
To fall asleep faster, try spending a few hours outside. Don’t exercise and don’t eat heavy meals at night. Your sleep will also be deeper and healthier when you skip that cup of coffee at night.
5. Limit The Use Of Electronic Devices
The blue light emitted by our computers and smartphones affects our sleep. This bright light (which is 40% brighter than sunlight) reduces the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
That is why we can stay up late in front of the computer, not wanting to go to bed. NASA astronauts stop using electronic devices 2-3 hours before bed.
If you’re not ready to follow this rule now, wear glasses with special lenses or install an app that filters out the blue glow. The app will control the brightness of the screen over time.
4. Choose The Correct Light
Lighting on the space station plays an important role when it comes to the circadian rhythms of astronauts. That is why fluorescent lights, which emit blue light, are not used in spacecraft.
LED lamps are now used that can change color and intensity. At night, blue light is reduced and, during the day, it is increased to improve the performance of astronauts.
Try to avoid using fluorescent lights. Use lamps that emit yellow or orange light, as both have almost no influence on melatonin synthesis.
3. Create A Sleeping Environment
All space crew members have separate cabins with no light, so astronauts don’t wake up from sunrise. The less light that enters a room, the higher the melatonin level, and the more a person will want to sleep.
If the room you sleep in is not quiet and dark enough, wear earplugs and a sleeping mask. Also, try to ventilate your room regularly, because congested rooms do not contribute to adequate sleep.
2. Learn Relaxation Techniques
Some people suffer from sleep disorders due to stress and anxiety. In such cases, NASA astronauts use cognitive behavioral therapy that helps them calm down.
This program identifies our habits that cause sleep problems and replaces them with others that contribute to good sleep.
A relaxation technique can also help you achieve good results. Simple relaxation exercises can improve our sleep and make us happier.
One of the most effective techniques to relieve stress is deep breathing.
- Breathe deeply and slowly, counting to 5.
- Hold your breath, counting to 5 again.
- Exhale as you count to 5.
- Repeat this exercise several times and feel your muscles release tension.
1. Consume Caffeine And Melatonin
If astronauts experience mild sleep disturbance, they consume synthetic melatonin, which has a mild sedative effect, and products that contain caffeine, such as tea, coffee, or chocolate.
Melatonin helps you fall asleep and caffeine helps you when you don’t get enough sleep to maintain consistent and reliable performance.
According to studies, caffeine is really helpful if your blood level is 12 oz (400 mg).
Therefore, if you only have 5 hours of sleep per night, to be more attentive and to concentrate better, it is recommended to drink 2 cups of coffee (with 3 oz of caffeine in each cup) right after waking up and 2 more cups after 4 hours.
What do you usually do to fall asleep fast? How do you recover from long-distance flights? Share with us in the comments.