Gap Sleep Gap 6: We need to identify how individual crew members can most effectively and safely use medications to promote sleep, alertness, and circadian entrainment, as needed during all phases of spaceflight operations.
Last Published:  07/31/19 10:05:30 AM (Central)
Responsible Element: Human Factors and Behavioral Performance (HFBP)
Status: Open
Description

 

a)    Initial State

Sleep is reduced inflight and during pre-flight training. It is therefore not surprising that sleep medications serve as a primary mitigation strategy during spaceflight missions. Sleep meds used in spaceflight are FDA approved for sleep periods of 8 hours or more, but have not been formally studied for their effects on waking cognitive functions during an alarm-based awakening from sleep (under 8 hours) as has occurred in spaceflight numerous times. A current study seeks to identify cognitive effects of sleep medications during such premature awakenings, and to identify the sleep medications (and dosages) that produce the fewest cognitive effects and adverse reactions in individual astronauts. Deliverables from this study will include a validated methodology for ground testing such medications.
In preparation for future long duration missions where crews become increasingly autonomous, it will be important to provide guidelines and management methods for medications related to behavioral health.

b)    Target for Closure

An HSRB or customer approved set of sleep-wake medications and flight rules, requirements and guidelines for their use prior to and during all phases of  space flight.

c)    Metrics for Interim Progress

(1) Work with Medical Operations to identify the most commonly used medications in current spaceflight (10%);
(2) Implement ground study to evaluate effects of sleep medications upon abrupt awakening (50%)
        (2a) Provide individualized medication protocols to participating crewmembers
        (2b) Develop guidelines, educational material for medication testing and for using medications (and other supplements used in spaceflight) that may affect sleep and alertness;
(3) Define research needs related to medications in current ops and for exploration and consider new medications as they become available (with pharm) (15%);
(4) Develop a medical requirement for individually assessing effectiveness and safety of sleep-wake medications prior to spaceflight (10%);
(5) Update flight rules, clinical guidelines and research plan, as appropriate (15%).

d)    Approach

BHP is working closely with Space Medicine in implementing (1)-(3). Feasibility of Stage (5) to be determined with Space Medicine and Pharmacology. As exploration missions approach, new medications will be evaluated.

Target for Closure
No Target for Closure available.
Mappings
Risk Risk of Performance Decrements and Adverse Health Outcomes Resulting from Sleep Loss, Circadian Desynchronization, and Work Overload
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Documentation:
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