A study released in 2001 by NASA scientists found that nearly 50 percent of all astronauts take sleeping pills to get a good night’s sleep. Nearly 12 years later, NASA scientists have finally found a way to help astronauts avoid rampant insomnia.
The space agency is planning to replace the station’s panel lights with solid-state lighting modules that can dim and change hues. Those color changes will mimic the time of the day on Earth.
NASA is replacing the old standard lights in an attempt to fight insomnia, a major trigger of depression among astronauts who can spend months in the dark recesses of space. According to NASA, the new SSLM panels are composed of blue, white, and red lights. Each light setup corresponds to different cycles on sleep on Earth.
By mimicking natural light on Earth, the hope is that astronauts will get a better night’s sleep.
The new lights will be tested in 2016 and will cost nearly $11.2 million to install.
According to UberGizmo:
“The effects of insomnia, such as irritation and depression, not to mention the tendency to make mistakes, are extremely dangerous in the space station, due to its closed and pressurized quarters. As a response, NASA is replacing fluorescent bulbs in the U.S. section of the International Space Station with high-tech light-emitting diodes that can switch between blueish, whitish and reddish light, according to the time of day.”
With better sleep, astronauts can perform at the peak of their abilities, which in turn could lead to better results for their numerous space-based experiments.