Like most companies, REZQ are well-aware of how artificial light can be used to manipulate people’s sleep patterns. It’s a pretty well-known effect: electricity finished what the Industrial Revolution started, completing the rupture of human activity from the rhythm of the diurnal cycle. And the deleterious effects of artificial light upon sleep have been increasingly obvious. The continual ingress of bright light, especially short-wavelength light, is known to disrupt the production of the melatonin that is crucial for the beginning of the sleep process. And, of course, the surge in persistent screen use in the 21st century compounded this.

Even without knowledge of that mechanism, it’s not new for an employer to use bright lights to keep their employees awake on long, boring shifts (just look at any 21st century supermarket). In space, this is even easier–artificial light is the only solution when not far too close to a star, and the idea of matching starship internal lighting to the 24-hour cycle of an Earth day went into the trash in the earliest generations of deep space work as it was realised how badly this affected productivity.

No, the biggest change here comes with the deliberateness of the attempt not just to keep people awake, but to have a lasting and measurable effect on the ability to sleep later. Combining vascometrics data with room sensors and scheduling information, the ship’s computer can measure and control the lux effect of its lighting according to how best to a) help keep the organic crew awake for an economically optimum duration and b) disrupt later sleep–the logic being that, eventually, employees will no longer even try to sleep unless they’re sure they’re ready to drop.

Just one of a multitude of subtler nudges to go along with the forceful shoves that REZQ use to squeeze more out of their organic resources.