Neuromodulation to find optimal states
If we can use neuromodulation to treat disease, we can certainly use it to drive the brain into a more optimal state. This has already been demonstrated through neurofeedback. Now teams of researchers are looking to use electricity, magnetic fields, and ultrasound to drive the brain toward preferred states and settings, like sleep.
Certainly, we can, and will, use brain stimulation to overcome the conditions of sleep deprivation, insomnia, and shift work disorder. We can also imagine architecting optimal short sleep experiences, say between missions or shifts, where there isn’t time for a full night's sleep. The brain can be coaxed into a restorative pattern for a short “power nap”. Even further, Dr. Jay Sanguinetti and others have demonstrated that by reducing activity in the default mode network, they can induce positive mood changes through direct (non-invasive) brain stimulation. Perhaps in a relatively short time, we will ditch the non-specific caffeine and other psychostimulants and instead reach for our brain stimulators to get us into the optimal state for a productive day and again for a restful night.