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Fatigue, Sleep, and Chronotherapy

  • Lakshmi Putcha
  • Thomas H. Marshburn

Early in the history of human space flight, scientists realized that several factors in the space environment might adversely affect human function and performance. Potential disturbances in circadian rhythms and the consequences of such disturbances on performance efficiency and the well-being of space crewmembers were among the principal concerns expressed [1]. In addition to environmental changes—e.g., microgravity and ultrashort light-dark cycles—several operational reasons were cited for the possible development of sleep disturbances and fatigue during space flight [2,3], including an abnormally long working period (the high-workload effect), continuing deviations in the sleep-wake schedule duration (the “migrating day” effect), phase shifting of sleep periods relative to Earthbased sleep time (the shift-work effect), and cyclic noise disturbances. The safety hazards associated with sleepiness and fatigue may have serious consequences for astronauts and cosmonauts as well as their supporting ground crews.

In the current space flight environment, imposed 24-h schedules often conflict with physiological and psychological rhythms of space crews, thereby changing their work-rest periods from their accustomed ground-based sleep-wake cycles. Although the consequences of this change remain largely unknown, this chapter is intended to provide a “snapshot” of trends in the assessment of sleep and fatigue, performance implications in space flight, and methods of monitoring and managing sleep and fatigue in operational settings. Also addressed are specific space flight issues related to risk assessment and to sleep and fatigue management strategies for current and future long-duration space flights.

Keywords

Circadian Rhythm Sleep Duration Core Body Temperature Space Flight Space Shuttle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lakshmi Putcha
    • 1
  • Thomas H. Marshburn
    • 1
  1. 1.NASA Johnson Space CenterHoustonUSA

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