FDA approved in 1998 Modafinil is a medication used to promote wakefulness. It has been used for sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, shift work disorder, and narcolepsy to help with the excessive daytime sleepiness. In addition to helping maintain wakefulness and alertness, it also helps sustain performance with sleep deprivation. Even in healthy adults, there are benefits to alertness and performance without sleep deprivation. It has been used in a wide spectrum of markets.
How does it work?
Modafinil also referred to by the name Provigil, is a psychostimulant but of a specific class called a eugeroic. As such it doesn’t have similar side effects, it doesn’t interfere with sleep recovery and there are no issues with addiction and tolerance. It is considered a central nervous system stimulant (CNS) but not associated with the typical side effects such as tachycardia or hypertension. It can be found under the names Modvigil and Modalert which are generics sold by Duckdose; being generic they vary slightly in strengths and fillers from the original variation of the medication.
It has been seen to affect an increase in availability of dopamine and norepinephrine as well as having a histamine effect. It also stimulates the sympathetic nervous system which promotes energy. However, the boost in dopamine can improve mood, wakefulness, cognition and the pleasure/reward system. A complete understanding of the way it functions on the brain has not been fully researched but it has been shown affect the locus coerulens, nucleua accumbens and tuberomamillary nuclei in the posterior hypothalamus. These specific areas of the brain are where we see the increase in the above mentioned neurotransmitters resulting in the wakefulness effect. (See here or additional research)
What research is there?
There is a broad spectrum of research on modafinil for improvements in wakefulness, fatigue, alertness and cognitive performance. The research has involved healthy individuals, people with sleep disorders, chronically ill individuals with excessive fatigue and people with sleep deprivation.
The first area of interest is some of the research looking into modafinil’s effects on healthy individuals. A study in 2004 found on healthy individuals modafinil improved motivation, fatigue, reaction time and vigilance and illustrated the effects were not due to simply perceived overconfidence in abilities. A study in 2003 looked at the cognitive performance effects on healthy individuals when on 100-200mgs of modafinil. It found the medication significantly improved performance on tests for digit span, stop signal reaction time, spatial planning and visual pattern recognition memory. With the subjects stating they felt more energetic, attentive and alert on the medication. It also noted it improves impulse-responding, and similar conclusions on this fact have led to it being researched for ADHD. More research compared modafinil to d-amphetamine. Both medications reduced sleepiness. Modafinil enhanced cognitive performance on two additional tests (digit-symbol substation task and repeated acquisition response sequence task) that had the study concluding modafinil has alertness effects and increases performance in non-sleep deprived individuals compared to d-amphetamine. A review of the cognitive effects of modafinil in 2007 found extensive evidence it improves working and episodic memory, processes dependent on prefrontal cortex and cognitive control. Without sleep deprivation then, we can see some benefits to buying modafinil in healthy individuals. Certainly, we can see it helps with overall alertness, can be anti-fatigue, improvements to reaction times and some evidence it helps with cognitive performance in some areas.
There is a substantial amount of evidence modafinil helps with sustaining wakefulness long term and in maintaining cognitive function while doing so. This is a benefit to people having to work shift-work, extended hours and who have conditions causing excessive fatigue. One study 2012 we can look at a military study of sleep deprivation and cognitive performance. The analyzed helicopter pilots after 2 X’s 40 hours periods of continual operation. They received three doses of 100mg of modafinil every four hours while each completed 15 flights. The modafinil was well-tolerated and showed it sustained alertness, sense of well-being, continued cognitive function, judgment, risk perception and situational awareness. The performance was not affected by their continued wakefulness with the use of the medications assistance. The study concluded it is a good choice for combating mood and cognitive effects of sleep loss during their long operations. A second study also done in 2012 was performed on doctors with one night of sleep deprivation on 200mgs of modafinil. It showed the medication helped with their working memory, planning, they were less impulsive with decision making and were flexible in their attention. It suggested that even with sleep deprivation and pressure higher cognitive performance was preserved enabling doctors to concentrate for their extended shifts. In fact, a study back in 2004 reviewed long-term 85 hours of sleep deprivation and found it promoted alertness and sustained performance which simply demonstrates the longer term sustained performance in sleep deprivation. We can see why people who work extended shifts or shift work would buy modafinil. The important takeaway is modafinil is well documented overall in wakefulness promotion, alertness and in sustaining performance when it comes to sleep deprivation but it is also interesting to note it tends to help with an impulsiveness that tends to increase with lack of sleep.
Best Vitamins for Energy
To compliment modafinil if you have fatigue, sleep deprivation or simply lack energy there are two vitamins you may consider boosting in your diet.
- B complex- B vitamins are important for blood cell production and metabolism. They are also considered the ‘stress vitamins’. Either way, they support the energy metabolism process. Deficiency in them includes, unsurprisingly, fatigue, memory issues, weakness, and anemia.
- Iron- Without a sufficient amount fewer blood cells can even get made, which, again can cause anemia and without the red blood cells your body isn’t going to get enough oxygen. This can result in fatigue, dizziness, headaches and paleness. It is a surprisingly common deficiency.
Modafinil is used in a variety of conditions. It is used in sleep disorders and excessive daytime sleepiness in narcolepsy and sleep apnea. It is used for excessive fatigue in conditions like Parkinson’s Disease, Fibromyalgia, and MS. It is also used in occupations such as prolonged shifts in the military, extended doctor rounds and other occupations that require concentration for long shift work and can cause some sleep deprivation as a result. It works well in these situations due to the fact it promotes sustain wakefulness while at the same time sustaining the same cognitive function one would have well rested. It helps with impulse control and decision-making while sleep deprived, both of which usually do not perform well. In healthy individuals, it is anti-fatigue, promotes alertness, makes us more energetic, improves reaction time and does show improvements to overall cognitive function even when we are not sleep deprived.