7 Best Modafinil Alternatives | That Actually Work

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Curious about Modafinil alternatives?

Then you’ve come to just the right place.

In this detailed guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the best Modafinil alternatives…that actually work.

Make no mistake about it:

Modafinil is the favorite smart drug in the world for a reason. The stuff just works and offers insane cognitive benefits.

However, the prevailing wisdom is that taking Modafinil every single day is not advisable for those using it ‘off prescription’ as a nootropic.

At Modafinil.com, we follow a cycling strategy to avoid building tolerance. We do this to let the mind recuperate, to avoid building a ‘sleep debt’ that can leave one feeling drained and lethargic.

That’s why we’ve created this list featuring the absolute best Modafinil alternatives you can buy right now.

To find out what they are, just keep reading…

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Disclaimer: The contents of Modafinil.com are for informational and educational purposes only. We do not provide legal advice. Likewise, we do not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your physician prior to consuming Modafinil or related nootropics. Your access to Modafinil.com is subject to our full Disclaimer and Terms of Use.

Modafinil is Amazing…in Moderation

We encourage consultation with your healthcare provider before beginning anything new.

Modafinil is the ‘gold-standard’ nootropic for one simple reason…

Nothing else comes close.

Modafinil is the nearest thing there is to a real-life “Limitless” pill.

A 100-200mg dose is likely to produce:

  • ‘Laser-sharp’ focus for 12+ hours.
  • Massively enhanced alertness [1].
  • Better working and episodic memory [2].
  • Inability to feel fatigued.

Curious about how Modafinil does this? Glad you asked…

Modafinil’s exact mechanism of action is unknown, but studies have shown that it is phenomenal at increasing levels of histamine in the brain, which gives users a sense of being wide awake and super alert [3]. Basically, Modafinil lets you work for hours on end without feeling tired or sleepy [4].

Modafinil’s other effect is to boost dopamine in the brain. It does this by binding to the brain’s dopamine transporter and inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine [5]. This increases the overall amount of dopamine and helps improve things like mood and memory [6].

Helpfully, Modafinil also reduces the brain’s “reactivity” to fear stimuli by dulling a specific area known as the amygdala [7]. This “dulling” effect lets you think more clearly, and work more productively, even if you are under pressure or working to meet a tight deadline.

Given this impressive list of benefits, why then are we discussing Modafinil alternatives?

Well, there are a couple of reasons.

First, if you take Modafinil every day, your body will likely build a tolerance. This means you’ll need increasingly more to achieve the same cognitive effects desired.

We avoid this scenario by limiting intake to no more than four times per week, giving ourselves a complete two-week break after every two months. This is known as a cycling schedule and following such a schedule is one of the best ways to minimize the side effects of Modafinil.

Second, unless you are a workaholic or have an incredibly demanding job, you probably don’t need to be working flat-out for 12+ hours per day, every day.

Your brain needs at least 8 hours of quality sleep per night, and if you don’t give yourself the sleep you need, you’ll build up a ‘sleep debt’. If you aren’t careful, you could burn out and damage your brain’s health – the exact opposite of what you’re trying to achieve by taking Modafinil in the first place.

It’s simply not good for your body to pop Modafinil indiscriminately. You need to give your body a break from time to time…and that’s where Modafinil alternatives come in.

We like to take the alternative nootropics on our list on days when we aren’t taking Modafinil but still want a cognitive boost.

But there’s another reason some people look for Modafinil alternatives; they might balk at having to go to their doctor to get their hands on legit Modafinil. .

To buy the nootropic, most users will either get a doctor’s prescription or they’ll buy Modafinil online.

Getting your hands on a Modafinil alternative is far easier than trying to order the real deal online.

And with many great options on the market, we understand the desire for an over-the-counter nootropic or two.

modafinilo

What are Nootropics?

Now, before we dive into the best Modafinil alternatives, let’s discuss exactly what these products are and why we love them.

All the supplements found below are nootropics or ‘smart drugs’.

If you haven’t heard the term “nootropics” before, it was coined in the 1970s by a Romanian psychologist and chemist called Dr. Corneliu Giurgea. He had discovered a substance called “Piracetam” in the 1960s and noticed that it helped improve memory, so he wanted to create a new term to describe drugs that can change, or improve, the mind. He combined the Greek words ‘nous’ (meaning ‘mind’) and ‘trepein’ (meaning ‘to bend’) to create the term, “nootropics” [8].

According to Dr. Giurgea, a nootropic is any substance that can:

  • Enhance one or more cognitive functions like learning, memory, concentration, or attention span.
  • Protect the brain from stress.
  • Be non-toxic.
  • Cause minimal side effects.

Piracetam was the first synthetic nootropic, but since the 1960s, many hundreds of derivative and related  substances have been discovered or developed. They offer impressive cognitive benefits such as [9]:

  • Sharper memory.
  • Better mood.
  • Enhanced focus.
  • Increased energy levels.
  • Higher motivation and drive.

The exact benefits vary from nootropic to the next, as all supplements vary in some ways.

However, these impressive benefits are why many individuals, yourself included, are searching today to figure out which Modafinil alternatives and nootropics offer the best results.

Because nootropics work! These products help us get stuff done.

Nootropic Side Effects and Safety

While Modafinil does have a few side effects to consider, most of the nootropics and smart drugs below produce minimal side effects when taken at the recommended dosage.

Over-the-counter nootropics, like Mind Lab Pro and Qualia Mind, are among the safest cognitive enhancers that we know of. These products are “clean” nootropics; they are certified as natural and don’t produce notable side effects in healthy individuals.

However, with all nootropics, there are a few side effects and safety concerns that you should always know about, such as [10]:

  • High blood pressure
  • Nausea and stomach issues
  • Dehydration
  • Fast heart rate
  • Insomnia and other sleep disturbances
  • Trouble with vision

In fact, these side effects are extremely rare and most users experience little to no side effects when taking over-the-counter, drug-free nootropics. In any event, what side effects do present themselves tend to subside once the nootropic starts clearing your system.

The nootropics below are SAFE.

7 Best Modafinil Alternatives

While no nootropic can quite match the power of Modafinil, the powerful Modafinil alternatives on our list do work quite well — and more than get the job done.

We’ve tested and reviewed each of the recommended nootropics below and have found them to be extremely beneficial as cognitive enhancers. They offer numerous cognitive benefits and are ideal for anyone looking for an alternative to Modafinil.

So without further ado, here are the best Modafinil alternatives that work:

Mind Lab Pro

If you’re looking for the PREMIER Modafinil alternative on the market today, look no further than Mind Lab Pro.

This stuff is potent, powerful, and offers an insane cognitive boost. Oh, and it’s 110% legal for anyone, anywhere in the world. During our own tests, this nootropic helped us dial in and crush our workload for over 6 hours.

It’s not Modafinil. You won’t find 12+ hours of enhanced cognition here, but that’s to be expected. After all, Modafinil is the king of nootropics for a reason.

What you will find is an incredible sense of focus and heightened concentration thanks to the 11 brain-boosting ingredients found within Mind Lab Pro. These ingredients come together to:

  • Improve memory retention
  • Boost motivation
  • Heighten mood
  • Enhance energy levels and focus
  • Protect your brain

But these aren’t the only reasons why we swear by Mind Lab Pro. There’s one specific reason we’ve selected this as our No. 1 over-the-counter nootropic…

For the CREATIVE benefits.

Mind Lab Pro offers enhanced focus and improved memory retention like any solid smart drug should, but it does so much more. It’s the ideal nootropic when you want to tap into the creative side of your brain and let new ideas flow.

Overall, you’ll find heightened focus and cognition, along with an impressive creative boost when using this smart drug.

Mind Lab Pro is highly recommended.

Get your hands on the world's best over-the-counter nootropic...
Mind Lab Pro!

Armodafinil

waklert armodafinil

Calling Armodafinil a ‘Modafinil alternative’ is a bit of a stretch; it’s extremely similar to Modafinil in almost every way. The only difference is how our bodies react to it.

Here’s the deal:

Armodafinil is the little brother to Modafinil. The stuff is a pharmaceutical drug just like Modafinil.

The only difference?

Armodafinil only contains one of the active ingredients found in Modafinil, while Modafinil has a chemical structure that features two active ingredients [11].

This means that Modafinil might be just a little bit stronger overall, but Armodafinil passes through the system faster and usually causes fewer side effects.

When we want 12+ hours of focus and heightened cognition, we stick with Modafinil.

But when we’re happy to work for 9-11+ hours and still get a good night’s sleep, then we find Armodafinil to be absolutely ideal.

Armodafinil is still an extremely potent nootropic. We just find that it’s much easier to get a good night’s sleep with Armodafinil than Modafinil, which is why we use this nootropic as a solid Modafinil alternative.

Definitely worth a look.

Buy Armodafinil online from our #1 recommended vendor.

Qualia Mind

If you’re looking for a natural, over-the-counter Modafinil alternative, Qualia Mind is one of the best.

In our tests, we found that Qualia Mind gave us a solid 8 hours of focus and concentration and kept us energized and creative all day long.

Qualia’s secret is that it contains a stack of two powerful natural nootropics, Bacopa Monnieri and Citicoline. This combination is our favorite natural nootropic stack as it gives a massive boost in alertness and cognition.

Bacopa Monnieri has been shown to give your reaction times a massive boost [12]. It’s also a proven cognitive enhancer that has been shown to decrease choice reaction time [13].

Citicoline works in synergy with Bacopa to boost memory and recall [14] while also providing strong neuroprotective properties [15].

Qualia Mind also contains 19 other natural nootropics including:

  • Huperzine A, known for its strong neuroprotective properties [16]. 
  • Phosphatidylserine, which can help with cognitive functioning [17].
  • Ginkgo biloba, which has been shown to improve short term recall and memory [18].

Overall, if you’re looking for a natural Modafinil alternative that you can take year-round, Qualia Mind is highly recommended.

Qualia Mind is a potent and powerful nootropic.

Flmodafinil

flmodafinil

If you experience side effects on the “recommended” dose of 100-200mg of Modafinil, that’s valid for patients of certain conditions, Flmodafinil is one of the best alternatives to try.

Why?

Flmodafinil is four times more potent than regular Modafinil with a much higher bioavailability. This means that you can take a lower dose (around 50mg) and still expect the same sense of alertness as you would with a 100-200mg dose of Modafinil. Because you are taking less, you can expect fewer side effects.

The only “downside” is that Flmodafinil is shorter-acting than ordinary Modafinil; it typically gives us a solid 6 hours of focus compared with 12+ hours with real Modafinil.

But it still provides all the same great benefits as the real deal, including:

  • Intense alertness [19].
  • More motivation to learn, work, and study.
  • Better working and short-term memory [20].

Flmodafinil’s killer advantage is that it’s an over-the-counter nootropic that is 110% legal for everyone, everywhere. You can buy it without a prescription anywhere in the world. 

The other reason why we recommend it as a Modafinil alternative is simple: it doesn’t mess with your sleep cycle like Modafinil can.

On days where you don’t need 12+ hours of alertness, Flmodafinil is ideal. It leaves your system quicker and doesn’t interfere with your natural sleep pattern the way that Modafinil can.

Highly recommended!

Get your hands on a great Flmodafinil now!

Gorilla Mind Rush

Gorilla Mind Rush gets the job done!

With this stuff, you can expect a solid 6-8+ hours of cognitive enhancement, guaranteed. Your mind will be churning new ideas, work will be getting done, and much more.

It’s a potent over-the-counter nootropic, no doubt about it. However, Gorilla Mind Rush does one thing better than almost any other supplement on this list:

It doesn’t create a “hangover-like” effect.

Roughly 8 hours after taking this smart drug, you’ll feel 100% normal and relaxed. Like you didn’t even take a nootropic during the day. It’s one of the few smart drugs you can take during the day and then go to the gym or go out on a date in the evening, without any of the usual after-effects.

This is a rarity, and the only nootropics that even come close to offering a similar benefit are Mind Lab Pro and Qualia Mind.

For most nootropics users, Gorilla Mind Rush has virtually ZERO side effects and is one of the fastest-acting nootropics on our list.

Recommended.

Gorilla Mind Rush is sold out. But here's the best alternative...

Adrafinil

adrafinil

If you’re looking for an incredible, non-prescription Modafinil alternative that offers similar benefits to Modafinil — look no further. Adrafinil is what you want.

The smart drug is 100% over-the-counter in the United States, can be purchased with a credit card, and ships quickly. But not only that, this nootropic just works.

Here’s why…

Adrafinil is Modafinil’s parent drug or “prodrug”; when you ingest it, your body converts (metabolizes) it into Modafinil [21].

As such, the effects of Adrafinil are eerily similar to those of Modafinil. However, Adrafinil is not nearly as strong as Modafinil and its effect doesn’t last anywhere near as long.

With Modafinil, we tend to feel the effects within an hour of taking it and can expect 12+ hours of straight focus and concentration.

With Adrafinil, it usually takes around 90-minutes to start “feeling” the smart drug. Then it only lasts for around 7-8+ hours, not a full 12+ hours like Modafinil often does.

Sometimes that’s all you need, which is why Adrafinil is an ideal Modafinil alternative.

Another massive benefit when using Adrafinil is that this stuff is cheaper than most other nootropics. You’ll save some money when buying this product and likely have a more comfortable experience.

Adrafinil is 100% legal and a solid Modafinil alternative.

Alpha BRAIN

Here’s the thing…

Alpha BRAIN was the first natural nootropic we ever reviewed. Yet years later, it’s still our top pick for a clean, effective cognitive enhancer.

Why? Because it’s consistently effective, easy to get your hands on, and for most, produces virtually ZERO side effects.

Alpha BRAIN helps us stay focused on churning out work for over 8 hours. Offering a plethora of natural nootropic ingredients, Alpha BRAIN just works. While the “high” isn’t as strong as Modafinil’s, there’s no denying this smart drug is the more prudent choice when compared to the other nootropics.

Plus, you won’t have to deal with the come-down effect you may experience while on Alpha BRAIN. There’s no “Modafinil hangover” when taking this smart drug, and it likely won’t interrupt your sleep pattern.

If you’re looking for something that works but isn’t too strong, then Alpha BRAIN fits the bill.

For Lowest Price on Alpha BRAIN

Modafinil vs. Alternatives?

We’ve already compared Modafinil with its alternatives to some extent, but we wanted to dig a little bit deeper…

Modafinil is the king of nootropics.

It offers 12+ hours of intense cognitive enhancement and benefits. When we’re looking to work all day and most of the night, then this nootropic is exactly what we go with.

However, there are times when working for 12+ hours simply isn’t necessary. Some days, we’ll only need to be in the zone for 5-10+ hours — give or take.

In these situations, we’ve found the Modafinil alternatives above to be preferable to Modafinil. You still get the insane cognitive “pump” so to speak, but you’re able to cool off later in the evening, get a good night’s sleep, and wake up the following morning without the usual side effects.

Not only that, cycling nootropics is a smart idea for us long-term users. As with most things in life, do NOT want to build up a tolerance to Modafinil, nor do you want to become reliant on the smart drug, either.

As such, we practice rotating or switching between smart drugs every week — to ensure we never build up a tolerance to any single product.

This is why the alternatives to Modafinil above are preferred.

Fantastic Modafinil Alternatives | Verdict

We love Modafinil, but we simply can’t take the drug every day. No one can. That’s just the way it is. We need to rotate the smart drugs.

We fully tested all of the available Modafinil alternatives and found the top 7 nootropics that work. Give them a try – they won’t disappoint!

Modafinil is the king of smart drugs for a reason, but the alternatives on our list are solid picks for those chasing an immense cognitive boost, for whatever reason.

Get your hands on the world's best over-the-counter nootropic...
Mind Lab Pro!

References

  1. Brühl AB, d’Angelo C, Sahakian BJ. Neuroethical issues in cognitive enhancement: Modafinil as the example of a workplace drug?. Brain Neurosci Adv. 2019;3:2398212818816018. Published 2019 Feb 15. doi:10.1177/2398212818816018
  2. Battleday RM, Brem AK. Modafinil for cognitive neuroenhancement in healthy non-sleep-deprived subjects: A systematic review. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2015;25(11):1865-1881. doi:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2015.07.028
  3. Ishizuka T, Sakamoto Y, Sakurai T, Yamatodani A. Modafinil increases histamine release in the anterior hypothalamus of rats. Neurosci Lett. 2003;339(2):143-146. doi:10.1016/s0304-3940(03)00006-5
  4. Brown RE, Stevens DR, Haas HL. The physiology of brain histamine. Prog Neurobiol. 2001;63(6):637-672. doi:10.1016/s0301-0082(00)00039-3
  5. Rasetti, R., Mattay, V. S., Stankevich, B., Skjei, K., Blasi, G., Sambataro, F., Arrillaga-Romany, I. C., Goldberg, T. E., Callicott, J. H., Apud, J. A., & Weinberger, D. R. (2010). Modulatory effects of modafinil on neural circuits regulating emotion and cognition. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 35(10), 2101–2109. https://doi.org/10.1038/npp.2010.83
  6. Zolkowska D, Jain R, Rothman RB, et al. Evidence for the involvement of dopamine transporters in behavioral stimulant effects of modafinil. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2009;329(2):738-746. doi:10.1124/jpet.108.146142
  7. Minzenberg MJ, Carter CS. Modafinil: a review of neurochemical actions and effects on cognition. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2008;33(7):1477-1502. doi:10.1038/sj.npp.1301534
  8. Giurgea C. Vers une pharmacologie de l’activité intégrative du cerveau. Tentative du concept nootrope en psychopharmacologie [Pharmacology of integrative activity of the brain. Attempt at nootropic concept in psychopharmacology]. Actual Pharmacol (Paris). 1972;25:115-156.
  9. Pro, M. (n.d.). Benefits of Nootropics – Research-Backed Results from the Smartest Brain-Boosters. Retrieved from https://www.mindlabpro.com/blogs/nootropics/benefits-nootropics
  10. Berry, J. (2019, September 18). Nootropics: Types, safety, and risks of smart drugs. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326379
  11. Adrafinil. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.drugbank.ca/drugs/DB08925
  12. Sukumaran NP, Amalraj A, Gopi S. Neuropharmacological and cognitive effects of Bacopa monnieri (L.) Wettst – A review on its mechanistic aspects. Complement Ther Med. 2019;44:68-82. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2019.03.016
  13. Kongkeaw C, Dilokthornsakul P, Thanarangsarit P, Limpeanchob N, Norman Scholfield C. Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on cognitive effects of Bacopa monnieri extract. J Ethnopharmacol. 2014;151(1):528-535. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2013.11.008
  14. Iulia C, Ruxandra T, Costin LB, Liliana-Mary V. Citicoline – a neuroprotector with proven effects on glaucomatous disease. Rom J Ophthalmol. 2017;61(3):152-158. doi:10.22336/rjo.2017.29
  15. Grieb P. Neuroprotective properties of citicoline: facts, doubts and unresolved issues. CNS Drugs. 2014;28(3):185-193. doi:10.1007/s40263-014-0144-8
  16. Damar U, Gersner R, Johnstone JT, Schachter S, Rotenberg A. Huperzine A as a neuroprotective and antiepileptic drug: a review of preclinical research. Expert Rev Neurother. 2016;16(6):671-680. doi:10.1080/14737175.2016.1175303
  17. Glade MJ, Smith K. Phosphatidylserine and the human brain. Nutrition. 2015;31(6):781-786. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2014.10.014
  18. Tan MS, Yu JT, Tan CC, et al. Efficacy and adverse effects of ginkgo biloba for cognitive impairment and dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Alzheimers Dis. 2015;43(2):589-603. doi:10.3233/JAD-140837
  19. Brühl AB, d’Angelo C, Sahakian BJ. Neuroethical issues in cognitive enhancement: Modafinil as the example of a workplace drug?. Brain Neurosci Adv. 2019;3:2398212818816018. Published 2019 Feb 15. doi:10.1177/2398212818816018
  20. Battleday RM, Brem AK. Modafinil for cognitive neuroenhancement in healthy non-sleep-deprived subjects: A systematic review. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2015;25(11):1865-1881. doi:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2015.07.028
  21. Armodafinil: Indications, Side Effects, Warnings. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.drugs.com/cdi/armodafinil.html

Medically Review by:
Diana Rangaves, PharmD, RPh

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