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'Martian' video: Sleeping astronaut
Do sleeping astronauts have to worry about being tied down in zero-G? (Credit: Fox / Armed Mind)

How do you get your Z’s in zero-G? Sleeping in space is one of the subjects tackled in a new video series from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment that capitalizes on the buzz generated by “The Martian.”

Fox’s “Life in Space” series is aimed at stirring up interest in today’s release of “The Martian” on DVD and Blu-ray. And speaking of “stirring,” one of the key issues on the International Space Station has to do with getting sufficient shut-eye without floating into your crewmate’s bunk.

NASA astronaut Drew Feustel, a veteran of two space shuttle flights, handles the question in a 46-second clip. It turns out that the accommodations are cozier than you might think.

“Typically, we sleep in a fleece sleeping bag,” Feustel says. “They’re similar to what they are on Earth.”

Because the space station is a zero-G environment, you don’t really need to lay out on a bed. Anyplace will do, but most astronauts prefer to sack out vertically in their closet-sized crew quarters.

“The key is to actually attach yourself to something,” Feustel says. “Otherwise you’re going to be bumping into your crew members at night when you’re sleeping – and you really don’t want to startle anybody in the middle of the night.”

That’s why bungee cords are among the essentials for a comfortable stay on the space station.

Sleep is a serious subject for spaceflight: In a 2014 study published by The Lancet Neurology, researchers found that sleep deprivation is pervasive on the space station.

That may be due to the fact that the sun rises and sets 16 times in the course of a day, or that microgravity somehow interferes with the astronauts’ sleep circuitry, or merely that life in space is stressful enough to keep you up at night.

If that’s the case, just imagine what Mark Watney and his crewmates went through during their Red Planet mission.

The “Life in Space” videos were produced by Armed Mind in conjunction with Fox Home Entertainment with NASA’s support and collaboration. Other videos in the series focus on shaving, exercising, relaxing and using the bathroom in zero gravity.

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