Drugs in space and sleepless in the shuttle

8 Aug

“in-flight astronauts don’t get a great deal of shut-eye, but what’s surprising is the range and extent of drugs they use to manipulate sleep.”

Mind Hacks

A fascinating study published in today’s Lancet Neurology reports on sleep deprivation in astronauts but also describes the drugs shuttle crew members use to keep themselves awake and help them fall asleep.

The study looked at sleep data from 64 astronauts on 80 space shuttle missions along with 21 astronauts on 13 International Space Station missions, and compared it to their sleep on the ground and in the days before space flight.

Essentially, in-flight astronauts don’t get a great deal of shut-eye, but what’s surprising is the range and extent of drugs they use to manipulate sleep.

Mostly these are the z-drug class of sleep medications (of which the best known is zolpidem, branded name Ambien) but also include benzos, melatonin and an antipsychotic called quetiapine.

Here are the sleep-inducing drugs with my comments in square brackets:

Zolpidem and zolpidem controlled release were the most frequently used drugs on…

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