I came across the following Wired article, Snorting a Brain Chemical Could Replace Sleep (http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2007/12/sleep_deprivation)
They have develop a "sleep replacement drug". They haven't been able to determine - yet - if it fully combats the long list of other ailments caused by lack of sleep. What they have determined though, is that by having a patient snort some of this hormone which is naturally-occurring in our brains, the patient is then able to continue normal performance in brain processes. It is new and different, it is not a stimulant.
It sounds impossible that a hormone can completely negate ones need to sleep. Is producing this chemical the only thing sleep does for us? Surely there is more to it than that? When you are asleep, you are giving your whole body a rest. I don't know enough about medicine or physiology to fully understand this.
The article cites that the US military administers amphetamines to pilots flying long missions. This makes sense as,
"One complete night of sleep deprivation is as impairing in simulated driving tests as a legally intoxicating blood-alcohol level."" (From http://www.fi.edu/learn/brain/sleep.html)
I can't imagine how much more focus and constant thought is required to fly any sort of aircraft compared to just staying in your lane and not missing any red lights. Having said that, I certainly would support this assuming the pilots aren't forced to... which they probably are, anyway. Maybe it's for the best, who knows.