Modafinil: Review of Nootropic Benefits, Uses, & Side Effects

Updated on February 5, 2024
 by — reviewed by Jason Williams, PhD (Contributor: George Collins / Editor: Yoko Hill)
Exploring the nootropic benefits, uses, and side effects of Modafinil.

Are you considering taking modafinil? We looked at the science-based benefits of modafinil, modafinil dosages, and the side effects of modafinil. Find everything you need to know about modafinil in our comprehensive guide.

What is Modafinil?

Modafinil is a popular medication that goes by different trade names. Put simply, modafinil treats sleepiness, making it an important medication for people suffering from narcolepsy, shift work sleep disorder, obstructive sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders.

Modafinil’s effectiveness at preventing sleep has also earned it a universal reputation as a smart drug or nootropic, with the ability to increase concentration and productivity.

Developed in the 1970s (specifically for treating narcolepsy) and released in the 1990s, modafinil has been used to treat sleep disorders and regulate sleep patterns for more than a few decades.

Since then, modafinil has been approved and sold worldwide, consumed by a large and diverse audience for its many benefits and positive effects.

But is modafinil safe, and should you be taking it?

What is Modafinil For?

Modafinil is used to treat a number of common sleep disorders. Firstly it is important to note, however, that modafinil is not a sleeping pill for sleep deprivation, but a medication that prevents sleepiness and falling asleep.

As a result, this makes modafinil an important medication for those who lose sleep at night and need to stay awake and alert throughout the day. This condition is also known as excessive daytime sleepiness.

For narcoleptic patients – who struggle to stay awake and can fall asleep randomly, often at inconvenient times, due to uncontrollable excessive sleepiness – modafinil is also a highly beneficial, often indispensable, medication.

Casual use of modafinil is not uncommon, either, which can be taken infrequently at 200 mg dosages to promote good sleep habits and decrease the risk of sleep disturbances.

Modafinil works by targeting and influencing the hypothalamus, an area of the brain that controls certain processes and functions, including when the body wakes up and falls to sleep.

Modafinil as a Nootropic

Because of modafinil’s power to treat excessive daytime sleepiness while, at the same time, maintaining wakefulness and alertness, modafinil is also one of the most widely used smart drugs for boosting productivity.

For mentally and physically demanding jobs, to give an example, modafinil is a popular nootropic that can enhance concentration and awareness, increase energy levels, and improve cognition overall. This includes exams and long written tasks.

Taking modafinil is also common among those who do not enjoy coffee, the effects of caffeine, or other stimulants that prevent sleep.

Therefore, modafinil is a drug used by a diverse audience for both preventing sleep and enhancing concentration.

Benefits of Modafinil

The main benefit of generic modafinil is treating excessive sleepiness. This condition can develop from shift work sleep disorder, sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea hypopnea (OSAHS), and narcolepsy.

In these cases, modafinil works to keep the patient or user awake at the desired time – most often during the daytime when work or certain responsibilities have to be fulfilled. For sufferers of shift work sleep disorder, however, modafinil administration would take place at night to keep the user awake.

A positive effect of modafinil is that it does not only prevent drowsiness, but increases alertness and concentration as a result.

This numerous benefits of modafinil, then, are:

  • preventing fatigue, drowsiness, sleepiness, and falling asleep (known as modafinil induced wakefulness)
  • treating sleep disorders where falling asleep is undesired
  • improving alertness, awareness, and concentration
  • improving overall cognitive performance, including memory access, quick thinking, and problem-solving
  • enhancing general mood through increased levels of dopamine and serotonin
  • boosting energy levels for physical labor and sports

A bonus of modafinil’s cognitive benefits can include the ability to alleviate and prevent mental illness and mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, and mental exhaustion. This can be linked to the user’s increase in productivity and general confidence.

These many benefits of modafinil are why modafinil has become one of the most popular medications and nootropics used worldwide. Simply put, modafinil increases cognitive ability while simultaneously eliminating sleepiness and drowsiness.

How Does Modafinil Make You Feel?

Taken at the correct dosage – typically 200 mg per day – modafinil can make you feel awake, alert, and more aware. As a result, you will also not feel tired, sleepy, or even lethargic – both mentally and physically – allowing you to be more productive and physically active.

Patients claim that modafinil cures excessive sleepiness associated disorders, making them feel as though they have enjoyed a full night’s sleep. Other users also state that modafinil improves their ability to concentrate and focus, giving them more confidence at work and in social situations.

Claims also extend to athletes, who affirm that modafinil makes them feel more enthusiastic with higher energy levels. This can be attributed to modafinil and its link to increased serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain – hormones that are known for boosting happiness and motivation.

Modafinil Dosage

What is the best dosage for modafinil and how to take modafinil effectively?

Modafinil is typically a single dose medication, or nootropic, taken once a day. Oral doses can be up to, or around, 200 mg in strength, in the form of capsules or tablets.

Other modafinil dosages might include two 100 mg capsules/tablets, taken at separate times.

Withdrawal symptoms from taking modafinil are rare. In fact, modafinil taken at the standard 200 mg dosage has no known “comedown”, with studies showing modafinil effects to last up to 15 hours in total, before completely leaving the user’s system after 16 to 22 hours.

Taking Modafinil for Best Results

For modafinil to be most effective, it is recommended that the time of modafinil drug administration should be before a work shift, or before any part of the day when excessive sleepiness poses a negative threat to performance or cognition.

It is for this reason that a missed 200 mg dose of modafinil should not be overcompensated with a dosage later on in the day, which can negatively affect the user’s sleeping pattern. In the event of a missed dose, it is better to postpone the next dose until the following day.

Likewise, a double dosage of modafinil is not recommended (missed dose or not), which may lead to adverse side effects.

Modafinil use is therefore most effective when taken at the same time each day.

Can Modafinil Be Used Long-Term?

There are no known negative side effects of using modafinil long-term. But while this might be the case, the use of modafinil as a stimulant, smart drug, or nootropic should still keep in line with correct dosage and safety measures.

Healthy individuals can take modafinil with little to no side effects on a daily basis, experts claim. On top of that, there are no known withdrawal symptoms as a result of taking modafinil treatment for a continued period, or going without modafinil for an extended amount of time.

A case for which modafinil might be used long-term is for treating narcolepsy, or for shift work sleep disorder sufferers whose job involves sleeping during the day and staying awake at night. In these examples, 200 mg modafinil would be prescribed by a doctor as a safe long-term treatment.

Side Effects of Modafinil

Does modafinil have adverse effects?

No medication comes without the risk of side effects. This includes modafinil, which may cause one or more side effects depending on the administered dose or how it is taken.

Similarly, modafinil can be taken by healthy individuals with no adverse side effects at all.

Modafinil side effects can include:

  • inability to fall asleep (if administered too close to the desired sleeping time)
  • headaches
  • nausea and dizziness
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhea and excess gas
  • constipation
  • chest pain or heartburn (and trouble breathing)
  • excessive thirst or dry mouth
  • migraines, eye pain, or blurry vision
  • changes in mood

In extreme cases, such as overdose of modafinil (ingesting more than 200 mg), more harmful side effects can include rashes and skin reactions, trouble breathing, irregular heartbeat or increased blood pressure, frenzied mood or anxiety, and depression.

While these side effects are common for other drugs and other medications, as well as rare for the large majority of modafinil patients (including elderly patients), the risk of experiencing negative side effects from drug abuse or overdose should still be taken seriously.

This means making sure to take a safe dosage (the recommended dosage on the original product packaging), or to consult a doctor before using modafinil.

Modafinil should not, however, be taken by women taking birth control. Birth control pills or any form of birth control can be disrupted by the use of modafinil.

Is Modafinil Safe?

Modafinil is a US-classified Schedule 4 drug, deemed to be of low addictiveness. Modafinil (such as modafinil brand name Provigil) is also FDA-approved for the treatment of narcolepsy, shift work sleep disorders, and obstructive sleep apnea hypopnea syndrome.

Modafinil, despite being an off-prescription drug, is universally considered safe at the standard daily dosage of 200 mg. Modafinil side effects are also considered to be in line with the “normal” side effects of most medication and of low risk or harm, even if administered long-term.

In addition, modafinil has not been associated to negatively affect or exacerbate the mood swings of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) patients, individuals suffering from bipolar disorder, or even unipolar and bipolar depression.

Clinical trials, conducted with placebo treated patients, also show that modafinil can be an effective medication for multiple sclerosis patients.

But while modafinil is considered as a safe medication and smart drug with rare adverse events, it is not recommended to be taken by women who are using birth control, even at dosages lower than 200 mg.

Modafinil Experiences Shared on Reddit

For you to read and skim through, here are some of the modafinil reviews and experiences shared by modafinil Reddit users.

According to Reddit user allotriophagy:

“I took 200 mg this morning when I woke up, as I had a big day ahead of me.

I find it removes barriers to concentration, increases alertness and focus, keeps me awake and generally active.

Today I spent about five hours cleaning the hell out of my house, without stopping. Normally I get bored and tired but Modafinil keeps me on track.

It’s great for staying awake in lectures/presentations/that kind of thing. Also great for getting up and running in the morning, especially in winter. I’ve also used it for extreme exam revision/essay writing.”

According to Reddit user modafinil_throwaway:

“Since I was about 17 I have been taking the drug modafinil to complete assignments and improve concentration. To this day I have never completed an assignment without it and am currently studying engineering at a prestigious university in the UK. I honestly don’t think I’d be where I am today without it.

For those that don’t know, modafinil, unlike Ritalin, is not addictive. It’s intended for narcoleptics and basically stops them feeling tired and falling asleep.

Fun Fact: Once I used it to watch all the James Bond films in a row without sleeping.”

According to Reddit user NewlyOCD:

“I am an ADD guy who recently started taking Modafinil and it’s changed my life.

About 6 months ago I started taking Modafinil to see how it would affect my ADHD. After the first month of taking it semi-regularly I decided that I had decided that I was going to perpetually self-medicate.

Since then I’ve lost 35 pounds, and quit drinking (5 months now).

I read books now, one every week or two, and I could never keep focused long enough to do that before.

I now start AND FINISH projects! I just finished stripping, sanding, and painting my bicycle with a custom frame.

It’s like it turns ‘I should’ into ‘I am currently doing’.”

Where to Buy Modafinil

If you are curious about buying modafinil, or even trying modafinil for free, here are the best websites to buy modafinil online safely and legally.


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If you are curious about trying modafinil, you can also order a free modafinil trial pack from ModafinilXL. The trial pack includes 10 samples with a choice of either 150 mg or 200 mg doses per tablet.

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Similar to ModafinilXL, BuyModafinilOnline offers superb customer perks that include worldwide shipping, free modafinil samples, as well as the chance to save money off your total order price through bitcoin payment.

BuyModafinilOnline features a number of modafinil brands to choose from, available in either 150 mg or 200 mg doses. You can also purchase combos of 200, 300, or 500 (and so on) tablets, allowing you to save money by buying in bulk.

The BuyModafinilOnline free trial includes a choice of two sample brands (Artvigil and Modalert) in 150 mg and 200 mg doses with a total pack of 10 tablets. If you want to try modafinil, BuyModafinilOnline makes it an easy process.

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We do recommend BuyModafinilOnline, however their return policy is not as flexible as that of ModafinilXL.


Modafinil is widely used to treat excessive sleepiness associated disorders and improve cognition. It is a prescribed medication, as well as an off-prescription smart drug or nootropic, that is universally backed by experts and medical research to be both safe and effective.

Modafinil treats sleep disorders including narcolepsy, SWSD, and sleep apnea. In these cases, it is used to prevent the patient from falling asleep at undesirable times. This helps to improve daytime performance as desired and regulate sleep schedules.

As a legal drug with the power to significantly increase alertness, concentration, and cognitive capacity, modafinil is also self-administered by a diverse audience – from students to office workers – as an effective nootropic. Users experience sharpened focus and increased productivity.

The most common dosage of modafinil is 200 mg, taken once a day. This is usually before a shift, or when the user needs to remain awake for an extended period. Modafinil has minimal, high-risk side effects when administered responsibly, and can be safely and legitimately bought online.