Bohemia, NY (PRWEB) January 15, 2013
On January 15, Online Bed Quilt commented on an article published by U.S. News on how astronauts in a Mars simulation mission developed sleep disorders.
According to the U.S. News article, six of the astronauts in a 17-month long simulation developed serious sleeping disorders. Scientists monitored the astronauts every day. After only a few weeks, they found some astronauts slept longer than usual and became sedentary during the day, while others actually slept less. One even started operating on a 25-hour day.
The mission was an experiment to see if people could last the 17-month long journey if humans landed on Mars. The article said it would take 520 days to fly to Mars, perform a short mission and return to Earth. Lead researcher Mathias Basner of the University of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine, said none of the disorders detected would create problems for a Mars mission because they were mild.
Representative Justin Maas of Online Bed Quilt, a leading manufacturer of beds, said lack of sleep is actually a very severe problem. “Lack of sleep, or even too much sleep, can be harmful to the body,” Maas said. “Sleep deprivation can lead to serious health issues and can increase risk of heart attacks. With the added pressure of being in space, the body needs time to recuperate. If these astronauts aren’t getting enough sleep, it could impair their ability to operate the space ship or perform when they actually do land on Mars.”
The article said during the simulation, astronauts were exposed to “a spaceship-like habitat, continuous isolation from Earth's environment, realistic mission activities, a mid-mission landing on a simulated Mars surface, communication delays inherent in interplanetary travel and limited consumable resources.”
With extreme conditions like this, Maas said it’s no wonder why the astronauts suffered from sleep disorders. “The unfamiliar surroundings, tight quarters, no outside concept of time and physical inactivity, make it extremely hard to form normal sleep patterns,” Maas said. “It might be beneficial for space scientists to adjust sleeping arrangements for the astronauts, such as implementing more comfortable beds or mattresses.”
The article finished by saying they might also simulate day and night cycles in future missions to help the astronauts sleep. Scientists will also focus on using sleeping disorders to “weed out” astronauts prone to those problems.
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