Most of the research sites are located on the Peninsula, followed by the coast. Credits: www.comnap.aq
Dr. Carmen Possnig is the ESA-sponsored medical doctor spending 12 months at Concordia research station in Antarctica. She facilitates a number of experiments on the effects of isolation, light deprivation, and extreme temperatures on the human body and mind. In the following post, Carmen discusses sleep disruption in Antarctica.
Antarctica is often described as the most isolated place on Earth. The coldest, windiest, driest, highest continent, and one of the hardest places to live and work. 28 different nations have research stations here, spread over more than 14 million square kilometres, most of them on the coast. Of the permanently occupied stations, only three are located within the continent – Amundsen-Scott directly at the South Pole (USA), Vostok (Russia), and Concordia (us!).
One of the factors that can make life here harder, and for some even becomes an obsession, is sleep. Even the earliest Antarctic expeditions report that sleep problems were frequent and problematic: both for physical well-being and for crew morale.
A trigger for these problems are the unfamiliar light conditions – in summer 3,5 months of continuous sunlight, followed by ...