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Sleep in space

An astronaut asleep in the microgravity of Earth orbit-continual free-fall around the earth, inside the pressurized module Harmony node of the International Space Station in 2007

Sleeping in space requires that astronauts sleep in a crew cabin, a small room about the size of a shower stall. They lie in a sleeping bag which is strapped to the wall.[1] Astronauts have reported having nightmares, dreams, and snoring while sleeping in space.[2]

Sleeping and crew accommodations need to be well ventilated; otherwise, astronauts can wake up oxygen-deprived and gasping for air, because a bubble of their own exhaled carbon dioxide had formed around their heads.[3] Brain cells are extremely sensitive to a lack of oxygen and brain cells can start dying less than 5 minutes after their oxygen supply disappears; the result is that brain hypoxia can rapidly cause severe brain damage or even death.[4] A decrease of oxygen to the brain can cause dementia and brain damage, as well as a host of other symptoms.[5]

In the early 21st century, crew on the ISS were said to average about six hours of sleep per day.[6]

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  1. ^ "A Day in the Life Aboard the International Space Station". NASA.
  2. ^ NASA - Sleeping in Space
  3. ^ "Daily life". ESA. 19 July 2004. Retrieved 28 October 2009.
  4. ^ Cerebral hypoxia
  5. ^ Dementia From Oxygen Deprivation
  6. ^ Astronaut set to make history for longest stay in space

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