What It's Like for Astronauts to Sleep in Space

More

Strap yourself to a wall and relax. Your arms may float away like a zombie's, but "it's really comfortable," swears astronaut Mike Fincke.

AP071102026946 (1).jpg

Zombies! (AP)

It had been a long day on the International Space Station, complete with a spacewalk, and astronaut Mike Fincke was tired. "We were sitting around the table drinking some tea, and I just fell asleep. I started floating away," he says in the video below.

Normally, the problem of floating, asleep astronauts (sleepfloating?) is avoided by tucking into sleeping bags strapped to the ISS's walls. But if you don't cross your arms, they'll hover above you, an eerie, zombie-like rest. Also, it's important that the ventilation in the ISS's sleeping quarters is effective, because, as astronaut trainer Robert Frost (not that Robert Frost!) explained in a post on Quora, "the carbon dioxide they breathe out doesn't float off -- it just sits there in front of their mouth, waiting to be sucked back in."

Here's the video of Mike Fincke describing his experiences sleeping in space:

Jump to comments
Presented by

Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

How have stories changed in the age of social media? The minds behind House of Cards, This American Life, and The Moth discuss.


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In