VivoMetrics® LifeShirt System ambulatory
monitoring system
Ventura, CA

Astronauts typically average six hours of sleep per night in orbit and also must endure an orbital dawn every 90 minutes, making poor sleep quality a major issue for NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). Insomnia is a prevalent symptom among astronauts, and approximately 25% of crew members experience dramatic impairment in the quantity and/or quality of sleep during both short and long missions.

The ESA is sponsoring an ongoing study to evaluate and determine astronauts’ quality of sleep while in orbit with the ultimate goal of providing a healthier sleep environment for astronauts in the future. As part of the study, a German astronaut will wear the VivoMetrics LifeShirt System aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

The VivoMetrics LifeShirt is a non-invasive, ambulatory monitoring system that continuously collects, records, and analyzes a range of cardiopulmonary parameters. The lightweight garment features embedded sensors that collect pulmonary, cardiac, posture, and activity signals. In the experiment, astronauts will wear the garment, which will record their sleeping activity. The LifeShirt will detect sleep activity and disturbance by assessing cardiac activity from an electrocardiogram (ECG) and other physiological parameters. At the same time, astronauts will use an integrated PDA to answer a series of sleep-related questions as part of a subjective “sleep diary.” Analysis software will then produce a sleep spectrogram that researchers will use to measure the astronaut’s stability of sleep.

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NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the October, 2006 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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