‘‘It’s kind of like you’re wiped out after New Year’s Eve, kind of like a hangover or something,’’ Linenger said. ‘‘You are aware you’re not performing. So I'd be extra careful if I had to switch some buttons.’’
Later in 1997, a cosmonaut on Mir who had a sleepless night accidentally disconnected a system that gathered solar power for the aging station, said Charles Czeisler, a sleep professor and space researcher at Harvard Medical School.
Czeisler, who wasn’t part of the Dinges study, said the new work was important in demonstrating the challenges of a Mars mission.
Astronauts do use sleeping pills to help them sleep.
And one solution experts like Dinges and Czeisler agree on is lighting. Blue evening light is essential for resetting a body’s natural rhythms, Czeisler said, and changing the color and timing of lighting has been shown to help people sleep on Earth.
Seth Borenstein can be followed at http://twitter.com/borenbears