Is there anything more satisfying than gaining into bed ~ a long day? lastly kicking up her feet, relaxing your head on a feathery pillow, and snuggling under a ceiling — ah, that's bliss. Unfortunately, astronauts don't obtain to enjoy the lull of a actual bed as soon as they're in space. And also unfortunately, there's not a most preparation an astronaut have the right to do beforehand to exercise sleeping in microgravity. That's whereby chatting v someone who has actually actually done it comes in handy.

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Former astronaut Scott Kelly spent 520 days in space, for this reason he's a pro once it come to catching some Zs in microgravity. And he has actually slept in fairly a few other unexplained places, as well — in a yurt at mount Everest's basic camp, below the sea in one underwater laboratory, and even in a fighter jet cockpit. He's also written a children's book about his experiences sleeping in the many unusual places, dubbed "Goodnight, Astronaut."  


retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly poses a portrait, Monday, July 8, 2019 at NASA's Johnson room Center in Houston, Texas.


We spoke v Kelly around sleeping in space, so that you'll be prepared as soon as it's your rotate to start (which can be as quickly as this year, if you success this free trip to space). Here's what you need to know.

Space isn't together spacious together you could think, an especially when it concerns your bedroom. Top top the International space Station (ISS), astronauts sleep in crew quarters that are about the dimension of a call booth. Yet that small cabin is a luxury compared to the resting area ~ above the an are shuttle. "You don't have a exclusive area of sleeping. You every sleep kind of together, wherever," states Kelly, who flew on two shuttle missions before heading to the ISS. "So, if someone gets as much as go to the bathroom, girlfriend hear it."

And if you're worried around claustrophobia in together cramped quarters, well, you probably wouldn't make the reduced to come to be an astronaut in the an initial place. "When ns was selected , they'd provide us a check to check out if we had claustrophobia," claims Kelly that his NASA training. "They do you keen up right into a ball in this thick rubber bag v a heavy zipper. They placed a heart monitor ~ above you, zip you up, then press you right into a closet. And also you wouldn't know how long you had to be in there."

When in space, you won't have the ability to enjoy the relaxing feeling of gaining horizontal, given that there's not sufficient gravity to keep you lying level in bed. Astronauts in reality sleep in resting bags tethered to walls, for this reason they don't float far in the middle of the night. Yet there are ways to make your sleeping experience somewhat similar to what it's like right here on Earth.

"Our totality lives, us sleep through blankets, and you feel that pressure. So, as soon as you don't have actually that anymore, that feels a small odd," claims Kelly. To mimic that sensation, he offered bungee cords come secure him come the floor. As for lying her head ~ above a pillow, Kelly uncovered a workaround, too.  "Eventually, ns was resting with mine head type of Velcroed come a cushion, so it feels prefer your head is up against the pillow," that says.


NASA astronaut Scott Kelly ~ above the International an are Station shows off his an individual living soldier in space.


NASA astronaut Scott Kelly top top the International an are Station reflects off his personal living soldier in space. Scott tweeted this picture out through the comment: " mine #bedroom board #ISS. All the comforts that #home. Well, most of them. #YearInSpace".

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There's no sound in space, however there's lot of of sound within the spacecraft. "The space shuttle is loud, so I would wear earplugs," claims Kelly. "And i would have actually a mask on. Even though you have home window shades top top the windows, the sun in space is really bright, and also it seeps through them."

Remember, spacecrafts orbit the planet at very high speeds — the ISS clocks in in ~ 17,100 miles every hour — which method that astronauts have the right to see 15 or 16 sunrises per day, including throughout their resting period. Luckily, ~ above the ISS, the separation, personal, instance crew quarters market a bit an ext privacy, making it less complicated to block out the light. They're likewise soundproofed to allow for an ext restful sleep. 

While the ISS orbits in ~ 254 miles over the Earth's surface, the Hubble space Telescope orbits in ~ 340 mile high. Some space shuttle missions, including one that Kelly's, reached this higher altitude. "At that altitude, you acquire a lot much more cosmic light ray that affect you, and you have the right to see them with your eyes closed," states Kelly. "They're like tiny flashes of irradiate in your ar of vision. That's distracting." 

Astronauts have actually been reporting this phenomenon due to the fact that the Apollo era, and while scientists aren't 100% sure what reasons it, it has actually been known to influence an astronaut's capability to sleep.

"I uncover that i sleep for this reason much far better than I supplied to currently that ns no longer work at NASA or in the military," claims Kelly, speculating that one reason could be a lack of work-related stress. Being an astronaut is a pretty intense job, ~ all.

And actually, Kelly's nights the sound sleep this days could be due to his astronaut training rather than his spaceflights. "The one point I found working in ~ NASA was that i was frequently chronically jet lagged because we would have training all around the world," states Kelly. "When civilization ask you 'Hey, what's the hardest component about cultivate to it is in an astronaut?' I'd say it's the jet lag."

But offered the pandemic, Kelly would certainly be happy to put up through jet lag once much more in stimulate to take a vacation. "I do miss out on traveling," he says. "Once this pandemic is over, man, I'm gonna take benefit of that."

What It"s Really like to Sleep in Space, follow to a former Astronaut Who invested 520 Nights doing It