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Woman reveals how astronauts sleep in ISS under zero gravity

There's no such thing as 'lying down' up there.

  • Sunita L. Williams has explained how astronauts sleep in space
  • Despite the strong circadian rhythm of Earth, they still have regular bedtimes
  • She gives us a guided tour of her sleep station

Published on Feb 5, 2024 at 7:49PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Feb 7, 2024 at 1:31PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Adam Gray

While spacewalks and research spring to mind – we often forget the day-to-day of astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

One American astronaut, Sunita L. Williams, has explained how astronauts sleep in space – and it might surprise you.

Despite the lack of natural daylight and strong circadian rhythm of the Earth, in space an astronaut goes to bed at a certain time and wakes eight hours later for the working ‘day’.

Space has no “up” or “down”, but it does have microgravity – meaning they sleep in any orientation rather than lying down.

Even sleeping upside down won’t make a difference, per Williams.

That’s part of the reason why astronauts come back from space as ‘different people’.

However, astronauts do have to attach themselves to something so they don’t float around and bump into equipment.

Space station crews usually sleep in sleeping bags located in sleep stations big enough for one person – although they do have a laptop, books, and some other home comforts in there, too.

Aboard ISS there are four sleep stations organized in a circle so the crew can sleep fairly close while maintaining privacy.

Some of the images used in this article are created using AI.

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