Speaking of stress, track your levels

As part of her research, Dunn tracked her crew’s stress levels during their eight-month stay in isolation and the stress levels of crews who were isolated for a year. Though the timing varied depending on the individual, participants tended to follow a similar pattern.

Everyone started with high biological stress levels but low perceived levels, which likely reflected their initial excitement of entering the dome. But from about six months on, both their biological and self-perceived stress levels were higher. Around the same time, people also started changing their sleep routines to avoid each other. Early birds started getting up earlier than before and night owls stayed up even later.

Dunn’s research in the habitat also proves that waking heart rate is a good indicator of biological and perceived stress. While a lot of wrist wearables can track your waking heart rate over time, Dunn says you don’t really need a high-tech device. Instead you can check in with yourself when you wake up and feel if your heart is racing.