Are You a Red Pill or Blue Pill?

medications effect on sleep

By Matthew Anastasi, BS, RST, RPSGT  Sleep Lab Magazine Nov/Dec 2020 issue

We are a nation of pill poppers.

In the movie The Matrix, Neo was offered a choice of knowledge (represented by a “red pill”) or a life of blissful ignorance (a “blue pill”). Though the film debuted over 20 years ago, the pill is the enduring image. By virtue of reading this issue, like Neo you too are a red pill picker, and benefit from the awareness that comes with it over blissful ignorance. The world is becoming more challenging, and sometimes the blue pill can seem more swallow-able. But here you are.

In this column, we will (a) detail the mostly predictable but always observable effects on the polysomnogram (PSG) from medications; (b) walk you through how a greater understanding of these effects can inform scoring, interpretation, and clinical patient care to promote better outcomes, and how relevant that can be for your career progression and emerging roles in sleep; (c) and detail ways to adapt to increased regulatory scrutiny of medication use in the sleep lab setting.

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