NASA sleep experiment

NASA Wants To Pay You $29,800 To Lay In Bed All Day

2 min read

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Hustle culture bros, listen up. You can now earn a chonky €18,000 (AU$29,800) by just laying in bed all day.

How? An upcoming sleep experiment will be conducted by NASA in collaboration with Germany’s Aerospace Center (DLR), studying how astronauts sleep in space, and the long-term effects they may face from doing so. Scientists are looking for 12 healthy individuals aged 24 to 55 years old to take part in an 88-day “bed rest study”. 

The study will be conducted at a research facility in Cologne, Germany. Sixty of the 88 days will be spent lying down on a bed that’s unlike your comfortable mattress at home. Participants will be in a bed that’s “tilted six degrees head down”, meaning your head will be lower than your feet.

Why? The DLR says it’s to “[simulate] the gravitational effects experienced by astronauts in space”. Doing so means that more fluid will flow to the upper half of your body, and there will be more pressure on the head. This is described as “intracranial pressure”.

As intracranial pressure on the body increases, so do side effects including muscle and bone loss, and an impaired sense of balance. Thus, NASA’s scientists want to study the long-term implications of this. 

NASA wants you to stay in bed

When NASA says that you have to stay in bed for the study, they actually, really mean it. The DLR explains that aside from sleeping, nearly every possible human activity that you’ll be doing will be conducted lying down.

You’ll be peeing, pooping, brushing your teeth, doing leisure activities and eating while lying down. But what if you take a massive dump on the bed, and stink the research facility to high heaven? NASA and Germany’s space agency didn’t elaborate how such a scenario would be dealt with, but we assume highly qualified experts would be on hand to sort that shit out (and maybe even document it, in the name of science).

So, it’s not an easy experiment. Who is eligible? You have to:

  • Be aged from 24 to 55 years old;
  • Be 153 cm to 190 cm tall;
  • Have a BMI of 18 to 30;
  • Be in good health;
  • Be a non-smoker, and; 
  • Have a “good command” of the German language. 

I’m out, as I cannot speak a lick of German. If you qualify, though, several stringent selection rounds will be conducted. Again, if you complete all of this and are selected, you get €18,000 (AU$29,800).

Sleep for science

NASA and the DLR assure anyone who’s considering signing up that after the study, physiotherapists and trainers will support participants to reverse possible side effects. Three months after the experiment ends, follow-up examinations will also be carried out to check on each participant’s well-being.  

“DLR has been conducting bed rest studies since the 1980s. We know that participating is no small feat, but a genuine challenge,” says Edwin Mulder, manager at the DLR.

“Over the course of three months, our participants, whom we call terrestrial astronauts, form a tight-knit community. Many of them find it special to participate in a study that is important for the success of future space missions.”

You can begin the application process here.

Image: Tim Kitchen via Getty Images