Broadcast 3902 Loretta Hall

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest:  Loretta Hall:  Topics:  Sleeping in space, microgravity challenges, cumulated space sleep deprivation, possible remedies, concern, and more.

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We welcomed Loretta Hall back to the show to discuss the problem of sleeping microgravity, a presentation our guest made at the recent ISDC conference.  Loretta started off explaining the sleep problem for humans in space.  Not only did she describe the confined living quarters for laptops, work, and the sleeping bag, but she talked about the challenging sleep patters for the astronauts even when they were sleeping.  She provided substantial detail so listen carefully. By the way, she was trying to come up with a good example of just how tight the quarters were for the astronauts so she used a phone booth.  However, she thought many of the younger listeners would not be familiar with a phone booth as they don't exist any more, at least they are not common.  I suggested a portable johnny on the spot used at events, conferences, etc. as they seem a bit larger than an old phone booth and everybody is familiar with a porta potty.  In addition to space issues, our guest was asked about using sleep devices, medications, and other methods for better sleep.  Loretta took us through an entire list of possible sleep aids, tools, meds, devices and methodologies only to say that they were not very effective. 

Other topics came up with ideas for helping obtain higher quality microgravity sleep.  Food was discussed in some detail, questions were asked about the ways the Russians deal with the problem, plus listeners wanted to know if the problems were different based on age, gender, and culture.  Loretta said no to the latter question.  Listener Todd asked if there had ever been a reported accident or incident in space due to a sleep problem. Loretta referenced an old Mir docking collision incident.  She explained what happened so don't miss it.

Children sleeping in space were a topic as was space settlement. This led to several questions about the interest in the problem with private space companies including the entrepreneurial companies planning future human missions.  Loretta did not know of any great interest shown on the subject, not even by NASA or academic researchers. That said the research that has been done and is being done is often with an academic grant stemming from NASA.  One listener asked about animal studies.  Our guest said there had been a few with similar findings.  Bonnie asked about being disqualified for spaceflight by having a sleep problem on Earth such as sleep apnea.  Our guest said that due to microgravity, there was no sleep apnea in space nor was there snoring.  Listen to her explanation.  Near the end of the program our guest was asked if the Apollo astronauts had trouble sleeping on the Moon.  The answer was yes but listen to Lorretta explain lunar sleeping challenges to us.

Changing the subject and close to the end of the discussion, I asked Loretta for an approximate TRL in terms of the developmental work needed to address microgravity sleep challenges.  She said it would be a 7.  Then I asked her if the sleep problem would rank in the top human factors space problems.  Our guest thought it might be in the top ten but closer to ten.  Before ending I asked her for the audience response and questions when she gave the talk at ISDC.  A few other topics came up before we ended the show so do listen to the questions and the response by our guest.  We would like your commentary on sleeping in space so do post your comments/questions on our blog for his show. We want to hear from you.

You can reach Loretta Hall through me or her website which is




Loretta talks about her new work on sleeping in space

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31 Jul 2022 Loretta Hall
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  • The Space Foundation Conference

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