Van Winkle’s spoke to author Andy Weir about how someone would rest comfortably on Mars and why astronauts really need white noise machines.
Did you do any research about sleeping on Mars when writing The Martian?
We’ve never had any testing of a 0.4g environment for long periods, so we don’t know what effect it would have on sleep. There’s no hard research on sleeping in low-g environments, and have no way to simulate them on Earth. We also haven’t made an orbital centrifuge to test them out in space.
However, the Apollo astronauts slept while they were on the Moon (1/6th g). They didn’t sleep well, but mostly because they were pretty excited to be on the Moon.
Most doctors think reduced gravity would make it easier to sleep overall because it reduces pressure on nerves. It’s like being in a very comfortable bed.