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Modafinil vs Caffeine

Someone would be surprised by this Modafinil vs. caffeine comparison since we are talking about the most natural stimulant that can be found in people’s favorite drink on the one hand, and about a smart drug, real nootropic, on the other. But the thing is, they are both brain stimulants that can affect our cognitive skills, and they have quite a similar effect on human behavior. 

If you are willing to learn more, and you would like to know what the most important similarities and differences between these two are, just keep on reading. For starters, we are going to explain what exactly Modafinil and caffeine are.

This article and all other content created by Moda Wiki is for informational purposes only. It is created for your entertainment. This is not legal or medical advice. Always make sure to seek the advice of your primary physician or medical professional before consuming nootropics, like Modafinil, or other pharmaceutical drugs. Please read our disclaimer.

Modafinil is a wakefulness-promoting agent that was designed for the purpose of treating symptoms of narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, and shift work sleep disorder. It is a pharmaceutical that has the ability to promote wakefulness and fight the feeling of fatigue and daytime drowsiness. 

Besides that, this nootropic can be used for off-label purposes, like for increasing our focus, concentration, alertness, and motivation, as well as for improving our memory retention. It is a Schedule IV substance with prescription-only status in most western countries, so you cannot buy it in pharmacies without a doctor’s note. However, it is considered to be safe for usage and non-addictive, with a very low risk of abuse.

What is Caffeine?

Caffeine is a stimulant that affects our central nervous system. It is known as the world’s most popular and widely consumed psychoactive drug because it is legal in all countries in the world and mostly unregulated. Caffeine has the capacity to strongly impact our alertness and focus, to block fatigue, and to promote wakefulness in people. 

This substance can be found in coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, chocolate bars, energy bars, and some non-prescription pharmaceuticals. For instance, caffeine is a very common ingredient in medications that treat headaches, migraines, and drowsiness. 

Some studies show that people who intake caffeine on a regular basis have a lower risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and there are also claims that caffeine usage can cut suicide risk by 45 percent.

Mechanisms of action

When it comes to caffeine vs. Modafinil, regarding their chemical composition and mechanism of action, you should know that these stimulants are built completely differently, even though they can provide us with the same benefits. The exact way how Modafinil works is still unknown, but it is familiar that it produces an increased level of dopamine and histamine in our brain and that it decreases GABA activity in certain parts of our brain. 

GABA is known to be a neurotransmitter that’s promoting sleepiness. Also, it is important to say that Modafinil is defined as a central nervous system stimulant, but that it does not classify as amphetamine. That’s crucial to underline because, unlike amphetamine-based drugs, it will provide you with productivity that’s associated with these substances, but without side effects that follow them usually.

Regarding caffeine, it is also a stimulant that affects our brain, but it is a natural and biologically active compound that promotes wakefulness. You will have the same sensation of being fully focused and with enhanced cognitive skills, which is the reason many people compare caffeine to Modafinil. 

But its mechanism of action is way different than the one this smart drug is based on. Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors, which are sleep-inducing neurotransmitters, and makes us wide awake for a long period of time. But also, this stimulant is responsible for increased production of glutamate, dopamine, and acetylcholine.

Should caffeine and Modafinil mix?

The question that comes next as a completely logical one is – should we use caffeine and Modafinil at the same time? Will that increase our chances to stay awake longer, and will that make us more focused, stimulated, and concentrated on our tasks. 

The word of the experts says that there are no reasons why you shouldn’t mix up these two. That way, you will find yourself to have an extremely high level of cognition, but you need to be careful with their dosages because both of these drugs are already quite powerful on their own.

In order to avoid being overstimulated and anxious, which is a common side effect of both these substances, but to still have maximum benefits this combination can offer, it is recommended to take 200mg Modafinil in the morning and only two cups of coffee with 200mg caffeine during the day. 

But you shouldn’t do that more than two times a week, and you should start with lower dosages of both these substances – for example, with one cup of coffee and 50mg Modafinil. Now, even though healthy individuals probably won’t feel any negative effect of mixing caffeine with Modafinil, bear in mind that you should avoid doing that if you are over sensitive to stimulants or if you never used smart drugs before.

Benefits and usage

Even though many people believe caffeine is not that strong compared to Modafinil drug, the truth is many studies confirmed these two stimulants can be equally effective when used by healthy individuals who are sleep deprived. Both 200mg of caffeine and 200mg of Modafinil can lead to the same level of alertness. Also, they can both reduce fatigue, enhance emotional intelligence, and positively affect complex decision making.

But bear in mind that they have a different half-life. While Modafinil stays in our system, providing us with all the benefits for around 12 hours, caffeine will do the same for approximately five hours. Also, caffeine will kick in after only 20 minutes to one hour after administration, and Modafinil will start showing its effects after an hour and a half to two hours.

Modafinil should be consumed in the early morning, so you can enjoy its fruits during working hours, with or without food, even though it is suggested to have breakfast around the same time you take the pill. Caffeine intake should be one to two hours after you swallowed the Modafinil tablet. It is important to drink your beverage slowly in order to avoid becoming excessively stimulated. It is not recommended to drink coffee in the afternoon hours in order to avoid having difficulties falling asleep that night.

Side effects

Now, you are probably informed of the most common Modafinil side effects, which are insomnia, headache, nausea, dizziness, dry mouth, dehydration, stomach pain, back pain, and anxiety. They are all pretty light and won’t endanger your health, so you should just wait for them to pass. However, some reports show that there were other manifestations of Modafinil side effects, more serious ones, where people needed to seek medical help. 

Those are chest pain, hallucinations, increased blood pressure, difficulty breathing, allergy reactions, and severe skin rashes, but know that those are very unlikely to happen, especially if you don’t have any health issues. If you exaggerate with caffeine, you may face increased heart rate, headache, vomiting, shakiness, feeling confused and sick, or having a panic attack.

When combining these two, it may happen you experience dry mouth and dry eyes, which is a consequence of dehydration, but you can prevent that by drinking around three to four liters of water a day. Also, as a result of mixing Modafinil with caffeine, you may start feeling extremely anxious because of an extremely high level of cognitive boost. 

You can put a stop to it by simply reducing the doses of both stimulants by taking another nootropic – L-theanine. It is a pharmaceutical that has the ability to prevent this side effect from happening while still keeping cognitive effects intact. Headache is another side effect you may expect if you exaggerate with caffeine and Modafinil intake, but if you lower their doses or stop consuming them for a few days, it will stop.


Is Modafinil better than caffeine?

When it comes to caffeine vs. Modafinil, we already explained that they could be equally effective regarding increasing alertness and promoting wakefulness. But research shows that intake of bigger doses of caffeine can easily lead to shakiness, increased anxiety, and dehydration, while regular 200mg of Modafinil probably won’t cause any side effects except maybe headache.

Can I mix alcohol with caffeine and Modafinil?

When taking Modafinil, you should avoid drinking alcohol because alcohol-based beverages can decrease the effects of this nootropic or lead to drowsiness, headache, and other Modafinil side effects. The thing with caffeine is a bit tricky. While there won’t be any serious consequences of mixing up these two substances, caffeine may cover up the depressant effects of alcohol, which can cause a person to feel more alert.


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