Is Modafinil the new wonder drug?

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Nootropics (smart drugs) are becoming an increasingly popular way to boost your cognitive performance, increase memory and give your brain a super boost.

Modafinil is not so new, is prevalent in Silicone Valley and is quickly becoming the smart drug of choice for many student.  As reported by the Telegraph in 2005, 25% of students in the top UK universities were taking Modafinil on a regular basis and those who didn’t felt that they were missing an edge.

Modafinil is illegal to purchase in many countries but it’s not illegal to take; it, therefore, falls into the ‘grey market’ category.  It’s normally purchased via India and a quick search on Reddit will bring up the reliable and trustworthy suppliers.  Interestingly, a recent article in the Independent calls for Modafinil to may made available more widely in the UK.

It took me a while to decide whether to try Modafinil or not.  I have ever taken a recreation drug or even smoked and don’t advocate taking drugs.  It was a difficult decision for me to try something that was in a grey zone.

What changed my mind?

Dave Asprey, the founder of Bulletproof who used Modafinil every day for 8 years to boost his brain and juggle a full time job along with an MBA.  It also helped turn on his brain again after years of toxic bold exposure any limes disease. 

So, what is it that makes this ‘grey’ market nootropic so popular?

Modafinil increases dopamine release which increases focus, problem-solving, mood and wakefulness.  It’s not a stimulant that will distract you, it’s not addictive but gives you a crazy amount of focus.

When you take Modafinil, it needs to be in the morning because it has a half-life of 15 hours, so it will keep you awake at night if you don’t take it first thing in the morning, i.e., at 7 am.

If you have any issues with Ibuprofen or other NSAIDs, then don’t touch them.  If you have any concerns, remember to consult a functional medical practitioner. Also, be mindful of the fact that Modafinil does not work for everybody and some people are non-responders based on their genetic profile.

How has my own experience been?


The upside:

  • Crazy focus – I could get lost for hours on a project and get so much work done.
  • Ability to push through tiredness – I did not get tired when pushing through a long day, such as working from 8 am to 10 pm to clear a backlog.
  • When I’ve had disturbed sleep, a tiring day or jet lag, it has enabled me to perform at the level that I needed to.
  • It makes you want to keep busy and do things, which is especially good if you have a stack of work that you’ve been putting off or some mind-numbingly boring tasks.

The downside:

  • I needed a glass of wine to ‘wind down’ at the end of the day and help drift off to sleep.
  • The next day, I felt tired, not as productive and needed to prioritise rest.
  • On some occasions, it made me a little jittery and anxious. Though not in a bad way, it was noticeable.
  • I found that I was a little less patient and not as empathetic as I usually was, this was again not in a bad way but it was noticeable.

The verdict:

Modafinil is something that I take only when I need it and when I do, I get powerful effects.  However, the impact that it has on me the next day makes me feel that it’s not something that I would want to take on a regular basis as I want a smooth and consistent level of performance.

About Nick

Nick Powell is the founder of Stronger Self and he works with entrepreneurs and senior leaders to enable them to take their personal and professional performance to the next level.

Nick’s approach uses cutting edge tools and techniques from the worlds of biohacking, productivity, anti-aging and neuroscience; harnessing the exciting intersection between biology and technology.

Nick has developed his Peak Performance Coaching Programmes to enable his clients to deliver extraordinary results across all aspects of their personal and professional lives.

He runs his Coaching sessions face to face in London & Surrey and across the World via Zoom.

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