It's not every day that the reach of one's research extends into space. But the work of BWH's Charles Czeisler, MD, PhD, Elizabeth Klerman, MD, PhD, and Steven Lockley, PhD, is doing just that and will be implemented aboard the International Space Station (ISS) later this year, improving astronauts' ability to sleep soundly and stay alert.
Sleep is largely managed by the body's circadian clock, which regulates our production of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, and cortisol, a hormone that promotes wakefulness and is associated with stress. On Earth, people's circadian clocks are reset each day by exposure to natural light. In space, however, different light cues disrupt astronauts' circadian rhythms.