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Environmental Factors Associated with Sleep Deficiency during Spaceflight (NCC958HFP04502)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Human Factors and Performance Team
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

There are numerous stressors that are unique to the space flight environment that might account for sleep disturbances and prompt use of sleep-promoting medications. Noise, which can disrupt slow wave and REM sleep, both of which are critical to the restorative function of sleep, remains a major source of sleep disruption in modern space flight. Operational demands of space missions often result in the continuous noise levels in the range of 56-69 dBA and often higher within habitable areas of the International Space Station (ISS). Dosimetry measurements during ISS Expeditions 2-14 revealed noise levels during sleep episodes as high as 72 decibels. Researchers conducting laboratory-based studies have reported that noise levels similar to those experienced by astronauts during space missions could lead to sleep disruption and subsequently impaired cognitive functioning. Uncomfortable temperatures (too hot or too cold) contributed to disturbed sleep more than 20 percent of the time. Low levels of oxygen and high levels of carbon dioxide have been hypothesized to account for sleep disturbances during space flight. This study incorporated the existing extensive sleep database to search for correlations between environmental factors that NASA routinely records (i.e., hypoxia, noise, hypercapnia) and sleep.

The specific aims of this study were to test the hypothesis that:

  1. Hypoxia will be associated with sleep deficiency.
  2. Increased noise will be associated with sleep deficiency.
  3. Hypercapnia will be associated with sleep deficiency.

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Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. No data sets are available for this experiment. Please Contact LSDA if you know of available data for this investigation.

Hypercapnia, carbon dioxide
Noise, mean dBA
Noise, number of spikes per sleep episode
Sleep, number of sleep disturbances
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Ground 05/01/2009 In Progress

Human Research Program (HRP) Human Research Roadmap (HRR) Information
Crew health and performance is critical to successful human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. The Human Research Program (HRP) investigates and mitigates the highest risks to human health and performance, providing essential countermeasures and technologies for human space exploration. Risks include physiological and performance effects from hazards such as radiation, altered gravity, and hostile environments, as well as unique challenges in medical support, human factors, and behavioral health support. The HRP utilizes an Integrated Research Plan (IRP) to identify the approach and research activities planned to address these risks, which are assigned to specific Elements within the program. The Human Research Roadmap is the web-based tool for communicating the IRP content.

The Human Research Roadmap is located at:

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Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Eric Gallagher
Institutional Support
National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI)
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
2015-16 HERO NNJ15ZSA001N