The pill promises to deliver sleep that is deeper and more refreshing than usual, and may even lead to people surviving without sleep for days, reported online edition of The New Scientist. The development is a plus for clubbers, night workers and new parents.
Russell Foster, a biologist at Imperial College London, said: 'The more we understand about the body's 24-hour clock, the more we will be able to override it. 'In 10 to 20 years we'll be able to pharmacologically turn sleep off.'
Researchers in the US are hoping to build on the success of the drug Modafinil, a stimulant launched seven years ago that allows people to wake up refreshed after four hours of sleep.
Unlike caffeine or amphetamines, it appears not to leave people with the jitters, euphoria and eventual crash associated with unaided sleeplessness and does not require the user to catch up on lost sleep.
Since Modafinil was launched in 1998, sales have climbed to Ģ330m last year.
The military is thought to be one of the biggest potential markets for this generation of drugs, as soldiers on special operations sometimes have to be awake and alert for up to 72 hours.