One of the peculiar problems about living on Mars is the extra 39 minutes in each day. If you ignore the complications with timekeeping and synchronizing with Earth-time, the big question becomes “How would this affect human sleeping patterns?” It’s likely most of us would gradually get used to the longer day, like shift-work. What little I remember of research studies on circadian rhythm seemed to indicate your body would slowly adjust to a slightly different sleep cycle. But there are bound to be people who wouldn’t handle it well for various reasons.
This problem is a background plot line in my novel. As a new mom, you can imagine I’m sleep-deprived, so even though this theme was in the novel long before I was even pregnant, it struck me as amusing in a read-through this week.
Then I realized this is a recurring theme in all of my stories.
In the novel I was working on in college, the heroine researched the effect of sleep deficits on various cognitive tasks. She downed buckets of espresso in the first chapter, and one scene centered around her falling asleep at her lab desk.
In the science-fantasy thriller I still want to finish, the heroine rarely sleeps, and when she does, she wakes up exhausted. Her sleep is fitful and full of nightmares.
In the serial killer novel I shelved a few years ago, the heroine is a nurse working night-shift.
I don’t know what this says about me. Perhaps I should go take a nap.