Health Watch--Pills to Keep you Awake

Sleep experts in Houston are testing a pill that can keep you alert by day and help you sleep at night. Art Triant is taking the new sleep pill. He says he used to be able to stand in a subway car, hold onto the strap and fall asleep through the whole trip.

That was before Triant began taking Provigil in a Baylor College of Medicne-V.A. sleep study. "Alert and aware...It's like all of a sudden my eyes were open. Before my eyes were open, but I didn't see a lot of things," Triant says. Triant says he also feels sharper and more rested.

Provigil, originally a narcolepsy drug, has worked against sleep apnea. Now it's being tested on shift workers. Researchers say Provigil has few side effects and is not addictive like other medicines. Still some critics may say shift workers shouldn't depend on pills to sleep. Researchers say Provigil may become an important option for shift workers...perhaps as important as coffee.