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Modafinil (brand names: Provigil, Modalert, Alertec, Modavigil) is a stimulant and wakefulness-promoting agent. Put simply, it was designed for one thing: keeping you awake. And it does that very well.
You may have a friend or colleague who’s taken Modafinil and raved about its effects. Truth be told, Modafinil is not new — but it is becoming increasingly popular.
Why have so many people started taking Modafinil?
First and foremost, it’s relatively cheap and easy to get. Previously, you could only get your hands on Modafinil if you worked for a pharmaceutical company or were in the military. Now, you can buy Modafinil online without a prescription, and it ships right to your doorstep in days. Times have changed.
More than that though, Modafinil just plain works. Buying health supplements online is like navigating an ancient bazaar pervaded by snake oil salesmen. When something actually works, it’s a rare and precious thing.
Here’s what Modafinil does:
It gets rid of the mental fog and side-effects of short-term sleep deprivation.
Ever been sleep deprived? It sucks. You’re cranky, tired, can’t focus, and tend to forget basic things — like your keys, and your manners. Modafinil takes care of all that, leaving you fresh and alert.
How does it work? Well, the science is still out on that one. What we do know for sure is that Modafinil increases neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. But it’s not as “harsh” as prescription stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin; the effects are much more subtle, they last longer, and there are fewer side effects.
- Which is safer Adderall or Modafinil (Provigil)?
Notably, Modafinil is not addictive. That’s an important footnote on an already impressive resume; one of the major problems with Adderall is that people overuse it and abuse it. Not so with Modafinil.
Probably the biggest and only downside of Modafinil is that it’s tough to relax. Your mind and body need sleep (duh), so keeping yourself awake for repeated, extended periods isn’t the best thing. When you can’t sleep, you can’t fully relax. When you can’t relax, you’re not such a pleasant person to be around.
Some articles about Modafinil
I’ve written a lot about Modafinil on this website. I put everything here in one place so you can find exactly what you’re looking for. Check out the links below and you’ll find all your Modafinil questions answered.
Is Modafinil Legal?
It’s illegal to buy Modafinil in most countries unless you have a prescription (for Provigil). People always ask me, “how can I get prescribed Modafinil?” Here’s my answer:
- How I Managed To Get A Prescription For Modafinil (Provigil)
Yet despite its legal status, the legal risks are minimal. I’ve personally never heard of anyone running into issues with Modafinil (and nearly all of my friends and colleagues take or have taken it). A well-known nootropics blogger named Gwern looked for court cases where people were arrested for Modafinil use, but he did not find much.
- Is It Safe To Buy Modafinil (Provigil) Online?
So, Modafinil exists in a sort of legal gray zone. You do need a prescription (Modafinil is a Schedule IV drug in the USA), but enforcement of these laws is lax at best. Nevertheless, supply shortages often happen if the FDA decides to put pressure on Indian manufacturers.
- FDA Bans Modafinil Imports From Sun Pharma (2014-2015)
A lot of people take Modafinil to adjust to work-related stresses that come with a new job or new school year. If you have to take a drug test (a ritual that is, thankfully, on the decline in the US), you can rest/wake assured: Modafinil does not show up on a standard drug test.
Price of Modafinil
As mentioned, Modafinil is fairly cheap compared to other drugs, and even other over-the-counter nootropics. Not surprisingly, many users still look for rock-bottom prices asking, why is modafinil so expensive?
Again my answer is, it’s not it’s actually really cheap, especially when you consider the benefits mentioned above.
How To Take Modafinil
I take Modafinil or Armodafinil in the morning on an empty stomach. I find that it tends to start working faster that way and that the effects feel “cleaner” and more consistent without a belly full of food in the way.
Dosage: I prefer taking 37.5mg of Armodafinil (Nuvigil) or 50mg of Modafinil.
If it’s your first rodeo, check out this article: How To Take Modafinil For The First Time.
If you take Modafinil on an empty stomach, you will start to feel the effects in about 25-30 minutes. Taken with food, it could take around 45 minutes to an hour before you feel anything.
Note, the effects of Modafinil last all day long (about 8-10 hours). Another reason to take it in the morning. When the effects start to wear off, you’ll feel like your normal self again.
Is Modafinil Safe? Side Effects To Consider
Taking any supplement is not without risks. As with all supplementation, the long term effects may outweigh any short term benefits.
Consider that the greater effect a drug has in the short term, the greater of a “crutch” it becomes over the long run. This was addressed in a 2013 interview between Tim Ferris and Brian Rose of London Real: Tim Ferriss on Modafinil.
Personally, I found that the most noticeable side effect of Modafinil is that it amplifies social anxiety. This is very bro-science, but here’s my theory: Modafinil is great for goal-oriented work.
Being goal-oriented when you’re having fun with friends is not how you want to be. Rather, you want to be relaxed, flowing, carefree, and in the moment. It’s like having a bit too much caffeine then going on a date — not comfortable for you, nor your date.
If you take Modafinil no more than once or twice per week, you should be A-Okay. This lack-of-social-vibe effect seems to happen when I take Modafinil 3-4 times per week for a few months in a row.
Additionally, when you’re stimulated on Modafinil and in hyperfocus mode, it’s easy to forget to take care of basic necessities — like going to the bathroom, eating (Modafinil also suppresses appetite), drinking water, and just plain moving around.
The result of this is that you can experience eye-strain (if using a computer) and a pressure headache, called the “Modafinil headache.”
That’s about it. I’ve never heard of someone overdosing on Modafinil, though of course, it would be possible and very unpleasant (imagine drinking 20 cups of coffee).
Modafinil and Alcohol
Let’s be clear: Modafinil keeps you awake. Alcohol is a depressant. Combine the two, and, in theory, you can get the inhibition-loss of booze without the groggy side effects.
Personally, I think Modafinil and alcohol make a poor combination. You really need to strike the right balance to make it work, which is not a balancing act I’d like to play when I’m trying to have fun. Nevertheless, many people swear by this combo so it can be done.
My default “upper” to combine with booze is simply caffeine. It’s cheap, it’s effective, and it’s not going to keep you up until the next sunrise.
Unique Uses For Modafinil
Most articles written on the internet talk about Modafinil’s history as a drug used by fighter pilots, and its current use by students and business-people.
Less discussed are unique, alternative uses for Modafinil (here, I think, is the “frontier” of Afinil use: clever, tactical application).
Here area few I’ve been playing with:
- Modafinil For Jet Lag: The Ultimate Cure?
- Writer’s Block
- Language Learning On Modafinil
- Modafinil For Weight Loss
Regarding the latter point, it’s likely due to Modafinil’s appetite-suppressing effects. Nevertheless, it works and works well.
Take Modafinil in the morning and you may forget to eat lunch (and dinner, too!).
Even with its benefits, many people find the pros outweighed by the cons.
The gray legal status, online ordering process from cutely-named vendors like Duck and Cat, and the social side effects can be off-putting.
In the same way that many students, entrepreneurs, and athletes turned to Modafinil as a substitute for Adderall, those same folks are now looking for other natural, healthier alternatives to Modafinil.
Here are my favorite Modafinil substitutes:
- Less Modafinil (seriously). Reddit’s /r/afinil Wiki pages suggest 200mg as standard dosage. I recommend taking no more than 50mg in the morning (1/4 tablet).
- Adrafinil, for reasons mentioned above.
- Alpha Brain (ie, high quality Bacopa Monieri).
Read more here:
- The 3 Best Modafinil Alternatives
- 6 Natural Alternatives To Modafinil
Caffeine and Modafinil
You can drink coffee or caffeinated tea while on Modafinil, and it’s quite enjoyable.
But a little goes a long way. If you usually drink 2-3 cups, one will do. More than that and you’ll be overstimulated, too anxious to focus.
- How Do Caffeine and Modafinil Interact?
Lately, I’ve been experimenting with microdosing LSD (specifically, 1P-LSD). After just a couple of attempts, I can say that this is the Modafinil alternative we’ve all been waiting for.
Same/better focus effects, plus noticeable improvements in mood. Notably, LSD microdoses make me pro-social, rather than anti-social.
I’ll be writing a bit more about this over the coming months.
I’ve covered just about everything Modafinil-related on this page. If you want to read a first-hand experience of “a day on Modafinil”.
Otherwise, shoot me an email, or drop a DM, with any other questions you have on this wonderful little nootropic.