How Scientists Sleep in Space

One of the main challenges of the space development program has been giving astronauts the same level of physiological and mental comforts they get back at home. However at 400 km altitude and confined to a small aluminum can this becomes a daunting task.

Generally astronauts zip themselves inside vertical sleeping bags. They leave their arms outside and use a strap that circles the waist. Each sleeping compartment has a light for reading and side panels that can be shut for privacy.

However just like on earth the sleep patterns differ among astronauts. Many astronauts have no trouble sleeping. Approximately 50% of the astronauts complain of sleep disruption patterns.

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Many astronauts, including Canada’s first astronaut Marc Garneau, preferred to sleep “free floating”. He was known to simply curl in the corner and doze off….

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Tips to Take Care of Your Mattress

You would be spending around 1/3 of your life on a mattress! Considering that a mattress can cost anywhere from $700 to about $4000 it is wise to take good care of it to ensure longevity. My mother still uses mattresses over 10 years old ! The secret is to constantly pay attention to certain details. Some handy tips (from my mother !):

Rotating the mattress completely by 180 degrees increases its durability and comfort. This works because a mattress can take the shape of a body when you sit or lie on it. Rotating it completely gives it a complete “new mattress feel”. But make sure you do not do this very often. This should be done once in every 4-6 months .

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  • Do not keep the plastic covering on the mattress once you receive it. It not only makes the sleep uncomfortable but also restricts the mattress from breathing. Get rid of the plastic coverings as soon as you get them.
  • Always use the handles to carry your mattress ands always carry it by its side rather than carrying it flat.
  • Use mattress pads and wash them regularly; they keep the mattress dry and clean. If infants or small children are using the mattress do use mattress padding. You can get them in any mattress store..
  • While using a King or queen size mattress make sure to use an appropriate frame and center support.  This is also important for all your warranty claims.
  • Always remember to replace your foundation each time you buy a new mattress. You may not experience the quality comfort from your new mattress unless you replace the old foundation.
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Mattress Myths

It is always wise to empower yourself with knowledge of a product before embarking on a shopping cycle. Salesmen and Stores often take advantage of the lack of knowledge of the consumers and try and persuade them to buy something which in actuality they might not need. Certain myths regarding mattresses that should be aware of are:

The firmer the mattress the better it is:  The best mattress is the one that is most comfortable for you. Medical research at the moment provides no conclusive data to support this claim.

The Coil count is important: Coil count above 390 in a queen sized mattress should be enough .Many mattresses are over designed and serve no purpose in improving the comfort level.

The  higher a mattress is priced the better it is: The high price you pay for a mattress actually to a large extent is the advertising costs incurred by the company. Don’t go for the cheapest mattress and don’t believe any advertising blindly !

If you move in your sleep, the mattress  is to blame: Turning around while sleeping is a natural phenomenon .If your sleep is disturbed in this ,yes then it may be a problem.

• Though there might be a pressure from the salesman to buy both the mattress and the foundation ,remember that including a box spring is not always required.

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