Friday, February 23, 2007

The US Air Force's war against sleep

Many sci fi universes have it: a way to override sleep, at least temporarily. The first one that comes to mind for me is the new Battlestar Galactica, where they inject themselves with stims, and deal with the speedy downsides as they go.

The US Air Force is also looking into ways to do this, without pills.

""An effective photic stimulus" could correct the imbalance between a person's normal sleep pattern "and the requirements for alert human performance on imposed environmental schedules (e.g., facilitate adjustments to “jet lag,” or shift work, etc.)," an Air Force request for proposals notes...
"For decades, the U.S. military has been tried all sorts of ways to keep its soldiers and pilots awake. During World War II, G.I.s were issued rations of amphetamines (as were German, Japanese, and British troops.) In the early days of the Afghanistan war these "go pills" were blamed for a particularly ugly "friendly fire" incident. A newer drug, modafinil, in being pushed in the military as a safer alternative, New Scientist notes. "

Makes me worry that our happy lights, commonly used to ameliorate seasonal affective disorder, will no longer be so happy.

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