I understand that astronauts on the Space Station only tend to get six hours of sleep per "night". That made me wonder, since the day is arbitrary in orbit, has anyone considered a day of 24*(6/8) = 18 hours?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It's difficult to imagine that such a rhythm would be beneficial given that humans tend to follow a 24h circadian rhythm (or slightly longer) even in the absence of any 24h cues. In the underground cave experiments typically the period of rhythms lengthens. I'd guess that a shortened rhythm would probably be hard to keep up. Maybe it's worth checking the literature on these kinds of cave experiments (or winter Antarctica expedition schedules). $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 17:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There are many alternative sleep patterns that could be used, but fundamentally the astronaut's job is to perform science experiments guided by researchers on the ground. Any minor benefit reaped from adjusting day schedules is probably not worth it because they'd force all the ground crew and scientists to keep odd hours too. $\endgroup$
    – Dragongeek
    Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 22:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble For us non-affiliated folks, we hear regularly, from astronauts even, that for some, they simply aren't able to get enough sleep while in space. We hear that it's a chronic problem in some cases. Noise and weightlessness have been given as unsupported explanations in the popular press I think. And we're also under the impression that the 8.5 hours of scheduled time includes other personal activities like checking email, reading, answering Stack Exchange questions (okay, that's a stretch) etc. I think that this is the basis of the question's premise; is that pretty much the case? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 0:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I've just asked Do ISS crew have the opportunity to take daily naps if they'd like to? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 0:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @uhoh Yes. The astronauts are given 8.5 hours of sleep time, but they're not sleeping for 8.5 hours. They might want to, but they sleep for six. So I thought, instead of running them on a permanent sleep deficit, move up bedtime. I don't know much about circadian rhythms, but that might be enough to foil my plot. $\endgroup$
    – Greg
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 18:15


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.