Modafinil For Students: What You Have To Know
Updated: Jul 14
We have all been there, the extreme sleepiness you experience after a few hours of reading through your study books. Call it laziness, fatigue, or something else, it is perhaps universal, and every student experiences it. We try to cram so much information the night before an exam that our brains gets overwhelmed. The human brain did not evolve to handle this much input and knowledge in so little time. So what happens next? It gets fatigued and induces sleepiness.
But what can you do when an exam or a school project is looming over your head, and you get sleepy. Surely, sleep isn’t going to help; neither is studying while feeling tired and sleepy, that's quite counter-productive. Well, the answer is Modafinil — a drug that helps people like you fight sleepiness. It works against many sleep disorders like narcolepsy (excessive daytime sleepiness), sleep apnea, and shift work sleep disorder.
Over the years, the drug became extremely popular, more so among people with long work weeks or strict routines who want to maintain a high-performance level. For example, active-duty military personnel, astronauts, and business or startup executives can’t think of giving their hundred percent without this new breed of drugs, a eugeroic drug, meaning - one that enhances wakefulness (but is also bolstering cognitive performance for many healthy individuals) (1) (2).
Is Modafinil the magic pill every workaholic or ambitious person has ever dreamed of? And can you too, benefit from it? let's explore that.
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How Does Modafinil Act On The Brain
Widely used as a smart drug, Modafinil has many performance-enhancing effects on the brain. For example, Modafinil:
One of the most researched effects of Modafinil is its effect on memory, and the data is very promising. Research shows the study drug boosts working and episodic memory — thus enhancing performance for individuals who rely on manipulating bits of data on the spot (3) (4) (5) (6).
Increases Focus And Concentration
Findings like these are the reasons why Modafinil has become so popular. Research shows it increases focus and improves concentration — which are some of the more important mental faculties students need before preparing for exams or other projects (8) (9) (10).
Boosts Cognitive Performance
Whether sleep-deprived or not, when you study, you want your cognitive performance to be at its peak. But unfortunately, the more you study, the more you experience a decrease in your brain performance - cognition stumbles. Here too, Modafinil comes to the rescue as the drug has been shown to boost cognitive function whether the individual is sleep-deprived or not (11) (12) (13) (14) (15).
Improves Mood And Increases Motivation
What if you do not want to work! What if you are feeling low, and it is affecting the little time you have for studying! In such cases, what’s the point of being awake if you can not do your job! Well, worry not, as Modafinil has you covered here as well. The medical literature indicates that the drug makes you feel good and increases your motivation for work so that you can effectively avail the time you got. Thank you, science! (16) (17).
Reduces Mental Fatigue
In the long list of benefits Modafinil has for you, beating fatigue is crucial. Ultimately, it’s the fatigue that is shutting your brain down and making you sleepy. But Modafinil makes you feel fresh and energetic to prepare for exams or take that class you have been escaping for a midday nap, well, Modafinil is quite the anti-thesis of naps, their ultimate nemesis. (18) (19) (20).
Enhances Wakefulness And Alertness
This is what Modafinil is exceptionally good at — enhancing wakefulness and alertness in sleepy individuals (21). Due to these benefits, the military seems especially fond of the drug, as they have replaced amphetamine drugs with Modafinil for sustained alertness in helicopter pilots (22).
Being a student, you want to maximize your performance in the limited time you have. The good news is, data shows Modafinil is the one of the most reliable pharmacological agents you can always rely upon as the go-to solution to your mental performance-related issues.
However, safety is an Important aspect.
Modafinil Side Effects
While we're at it, let’s also discuss Modafinil's side effects. Sure, no drug is free of unwanted effects, and Modafinil is no different. But what matters is the severity of adverse consequences and whether the benefits outweigh the risks. And luckily, research shows Modafinil is a highly safe and well-tolerated drug (23) (24).
Foremost, it is neither addictive nor has any after-effects (hangover) like the commonly used study drug Adderall — the trade name for a drug called mixed amphetamine salts (25) (26) (27) that is used by many people from all walks of life and cultures, to gain immense concentration and motivation abilities, but is very much a double-edged sword.
What's more, while Modafinil stimulates the brain and improves performance, it does not have similar adverse effects on the nervous, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems. That being said, you may still experience some common side effects.
Potential side effects you should be aware of include:
Headaches and dizziness
Sleep problems (i.e., sleeplessness/insomnia)
Nausea, diarrhea, or upset stomach
Raised blood pressure
An allergic skin reaction to Modafinil is exceedingly rare. However, talk to your doctor if you notice symptoms like fever, skin rash, itching, troubled breathing, and swelling in the legs or face. The good news is, unlike Adderall, no one has ever died from taking Modafinil (28) (29) (30). However, you should be cautious if you have had an allergic reaction or mental health issues in the past.
We also recommend viewing our article on the relationship between Modafinil and adolescents' brains, where we dive deep to Modafinil's safety profile and what the medical literature can infer on that relationship.
Modafinil Benefits For Students
Students have always found it difficult to stuff their brains with information in the last days before exams. On one hand, they remain under a time constraint, and on the other, a declining performance, with increased sleepiness due to fatigue and sleep deprivation. As a result, they have to resort to the quickest solution to their problem, i.e., taking a study pill.
For a long-time, students used Adderall as their go-to pill for sleepiness and other performance-related issues. But its side effects remained very bothersome for most students, and there were no alternatives. But Modafinil (and other nootropics) has changed that all. It provides all the benefits drugs like Adderall offer— but better, all while having the most negligible side effects. Some of the ways it can help you improve your grades include:
Modafinil improves your focus, energy, and attention during studies, so you suck in all the extra knowledge and perform better in your exams.
If you can’t attentively listen to the class lecture or find yourself skipping important classes due to midday naps, Modafinil is the drug you need right now. It helps you improve concentration and fight sleepiness.
When it comes to working on projects, papers, and other assignments, Modafinil is that limitless drug that increases your efficiency significantly and prevents any interruption in your peak brain performance.
If you are someone who parties a lot and suffers from a hangover the following day, here too, Modafinil can be of great help to you as it is an excellent cure for a hangover - It is a wakefulness drug after all.
But is Modafinil really the best and safest option for students?
Nootropics for students
After praising Modafinil as an impressive tool for productivity, let's view things from a different perspective. In recent years, students and professionals migrated to a different category of drugs called "nootropics", which are mainly natural cognitive enhancers such as herbs, mushrooms, and amino-acids.
When complementary nootropics are combined to elicit better results, they are called "stacks".
These provide holistic cognitive enhancement that the pharmacological cognitive enhancers (PCE's) such as Modafinil can not elicit.
One such stack is the renowned Mind lab pro, which our team utilizes most of the time, for days when extreme focus by Modafinil is not necessary but overall cognitive augmentation is more needed.
These happen because the ingredients of the stack facilitate critical neurological processes and traits such as neuroplasticity, neurogenesis, neuroprotection, anti-inflammation and anti-oxidant properties.
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How To Use Modafinil?
Just like other drugs, the effects of Modafinil are dose-dependent. For a typical 200 mg pill — used by students in colleges and universities, the effects last between 12 and 14 hours. That is why the best time to take Modafinil is in the morning or at least before 10 am so that it does not keep you awake late at night.
It is important to start low and easy, with a quarter pill (i.e. a 50 mg dose) to first get an impression of whether the effects are what you sought after and that everything is ok. For more Information about that, visit our detailed Modafinil dosages guide.
In addition, take the drug with a big meal to avoid stomach issues and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, as Modafinil tends to dehydrate you. Overall, Modafinil is a safe drug from which you can benefit greatly in your college life.
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Important note: this article may contain affiliate links, with that being said, our articles are always made with good faith and intentions.
This article is scientific research based, please contact us if you find any outdated information in one of our guides or articles.
1. Modafinil Oral: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings & Dosing - WebMD. (n.d.). WebMD. Retrieved June 17, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-16962/modafinil-oral/details
2. Modafinil: MedlinePlus Drug Information. (n.d.). MedlinePlus. Retrieved June 17, 2022, from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a602016.html
3. Modafinil. (n.d.). Drugs.Com. Retrieved June 17, 2022, from https://www.drugs.com/mtm/modafinil.html
4. Provigil (Modafinil): Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Interactions, Warning. (n.d.). RxList. Retrieved June 17, 2022, from https://www.rxlist.com/provigil-drug.htm#description
5. Modafinil For Students | The Premier Study Drug? (n.d.). Modafinil. Retrieved June 17, 2022, from https://www.modafinil.com/modafinil-for-students/
6. Kim, D. (2012). Practical use and risk of modafinil, a novel waking drug. Environmental Health and Toxicology, 27, e2012007. https://doi.org/10.5620/eht.2012.27.e2012007
7. Geggel, L. (2015, August 19). “smart drug” modafinil actually works, study shows. Live Science. https://www.livescience.com/51919-modafil-improves-attention-learning.html
8. Moradi, F., Eslami, F., Rahimi, N., Koohfar, A., Shayan, M., Maadani, M., Ghasemi, M., & Dehpour, A. R. (2022). Modafinil exerts anticonvulsive effects against lithium-pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus in rats: A role for tumor necrosis factor-α and nitric oxide signaling. Epilepsy & Behavior: E&B, 130(108649), 108649. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2022.108649