The 8 Best Natural Modafinil Alternatives That Actually Work!

Last Updated:
Medically reviewed by Dr. Darshan Shingala MD, MPH

Key Information

Modafinil is a powerful nootropic drug

that boosts focus and mental energy, but can have harmful side effects and require a prescription

Natural alternatives include nootropic supplements

such as Mind Lab Pro and NooCube, which contain natural ingredients that enhance cognitive function and mood.

Other natural alternatives include biohacking devices

such as Sauna Space, Cold Plunge, and NeoRhythm, which use light, temperature, and electromagnetic waves to stimulate the brain and body.

Natural alternatives can provide similar benefits to Modafinil

without the risks of addiction, tolerance, or adverse reactions, and can also improve overall health and wellness.

Affiliate Disclosure: Holistic Nootropics may earn affiliate commissions if you purchase through the links on this page. Here's how it works.

Hey there! Welcome to my review of the best natural modafinil alternatives for June 2024 .

As someone who is all about looking for natural solutions for cognitive enhancement, I figured it would be helpful to find some natural alternatives to arguably the most potent pharmaceutical nootropic.

I spent 25+ hours researching and testing 8 nootropics and biohacks. Then I ranked them based on effectiveness, quality, safety, and affordability.

You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars or even get a doctor’s prescription for a high-quality brain boost. Any one of the following natural modafinil alternatives is sure to give you limitless brain power.

Ready to naturally launch your brain into Beast mode? Let’s jump into it!

Natural Modafinil Alternatives

Biohack Your Brainpower

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Best Natural Modafinil Alternatives -Nootropics-

NooCube #1

NooCube

#1 All-Natural Modafinil Alternative
4.8
Shop NowGet 20% off three bottles
Mind Lab Pro #2

Mind Lab Pro

Science-backed nutrition for your brain
5
Shop NowBuy 3 bottles, get 1 free with our links
CZTL Methylene Blue #3

CZTL Methylene Blue

Energy Crystals: CZTL Methylene Blue
4.5
Shop NowFree Tracked Shipping
Lion's Mane by Real Mushroom #4

Lion’s Mane by Real Mushroom

Lion's Mane – Real Mushrooms
4.7
Shop NowBest Value, Highest Quality Mushroom
product image #5

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Best Natural Modafinil Alternatives -Biohacks-

Plunge #1

Plunge

Convenient, Affordable Cold Plunge
5
Shop NowUse code HN150 to save $150 at checkout!
SaunaSpace #2

SaunaSpace

#1 Red Light Sauna
5
Shop NowGet 5% off entire order w/ code HOLISTICNOOTROPICS
NeoRhythm by OmniPEMF #3

NeoRhythm by OmniPEMF

The Most Advanced Consumer PEMF Device on the Market

Natural Modafinil Alternatives – FAQ –

While we don’t discourage using Modafinil, it is essential to know that more natural alternatives can sustainably achieve similar benefits to Modafinil without the side effects.

In fact, many of the alternatives mentioned in this roundup can benefit both mental and physical health, which over time, can boost your overall wellness and help you reach peak performance. Here’s a quick peak at what we discuss in this review. Feel free to skip to the next section for a quick peak at our list of top modafinil alternatives.

Natural Modafinil Alternatives

Many natural and safer alternatives are available for those who wish to avoid Modafinil, but still need something to boost mental alertness and energy.

These include different types of nootropics along with some enhanced technological devices.

These alternatives offer similar benefits but with minimal side effects.1Daniel J. Kuhman, Keanan J. Joyner, and Richard J. Bloomer, Cognitive Performance and Mood Following Ingestion of a Theacrine-Containing Dietary Supplement, Caffeine, or Placebo by Young Men and Women Nutrients. 20152I-Chen Li, Li-Ya Lee, Tsai-Teng Tzeng, Wan-Ping Chen, Yen-Po Chen, Young-Ju Shiao, and Chin-Chu Chen, Neurohealth Properties of Hericium erinaceus Mycelia Enriched with Erinacines Behav Neurol. 20183Len Storlien, Nick D Oakes, David E Kelley, Metabolic flexibility Proc Nutr Soc. 20044Bret H. Goodpaster, Ph.D. and Lauren M. Sparks, Ph.D., Metabolic flexibility in health and disease Cell Metab. 20185Shang-Ru Tsai, PhD, and Michael R Hamblin, PhD, Biological effects and medical applications of infrared radiation J Photochem Photobiol B.20176Michael R. Hamblin, Photobiomodulation for Alzheimer’s Disease: Has the Light Dawned? Photonics. 20197Lorenza S. Colzato,corresponding author Hayley Barone, Roberta Sellaro, and Bernhard Hommel, More attentional focusing through binaural beats: evidence from the global–local task Psychol Res. 20178ADAA, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) ADAA. 20219Michael R.Hamblin, Shining light on the head: Photobiomodulation for brain disorders BBA Clinical. 2016

What Is Modafinil

Modafinil is classified as a stimulant and belongs to a class of drugs known as “eugeroics” or “wakefulness-promoting agents”.10MedlinePlus, Modafinil MedlinePlus. 2016

How Modafinil Works In Your Brain

Although the exact therapeutic mechanism of many eugeroics, including Modafinil, remains unknown, it is hypothesized to change the amounts of certain substances in the brain which participate in the sleep-wake cycle.11Dongsoo Kim, Practical Use and Risk of Modafinil, a Novel Waking Drug Environ Health Toxicol. 201212Seyed MohammadReza Hashemiana,and Tayebeh Farhadi, A review on modafinil: the characteristics, function, and use in critical care J Drug Assess. 2020

Natural Modafinil Alternatives

Modafinil is a weak dopamine reuptake inhibitor. It is also very selective and atypical in terms of its mechanism of action. Due to its characteristics, it is usually indicated to promote wakefulness in adult patients who are diagnosed with narcolepsy and obstructive sleep apnea.13FDA, PROVIGIL®HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION FDA. 201514Seyed Mohammad Reza Hashemiana, and Tayebeh Farhadi, A review on modafinil: the characteristics, function, and use in critical care J Drug Assess. 2020

Modafinil For High Performance

Natural Modafinil Alternatives

Some techies have reportedly used “smart” drugs like Modafinil to tweak their brains in order to optimize their performance and get ahead in competitive work environments. Eugeroics are allegedly great “cognitive cocktails” for tech workers and aficionados in Silicon Valley.

Smart Drug, Move- “Limitless”

Modafinil has been touted as a “smart drug” or a “genius pill” that substantially enhances cognitive function. It has been glorified in pop culture, especially in movies such as “Limitless”, as a drug which gives the ability to use one’s brain to its full potential.

Provigil

Modafinil is typically marketed as tablets for oral use under the brand name Provigil. The most commonly prescribed dosage is 200mg once per day during the morning hours.15Food and Drug AdministrationPROVIGIL®HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION Food and Drug Administration. 2015

Modafinil Side Effects

Natural Modafinil Alternatives

There are several minor and major side effects of Modafinil. The most common side effects are headache, nausea, loss of appetite, anxiety, dizziness, diarrhea, and rhinitis. However, there have been instances where very serious side effects such as erythema multiforme, Stevens–Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, angioedema, and multi-organ hypersensitivity have been reported.16Author(s), MEDICATION GUIDE PROVIGIL® Food and Drug Administration. 201517MedlinePlus, Modafinil MedlinePlus. 2016

Modafinil Can Be Overstiumlating

Natural Modafinil Alternatives

Modafinil can cause sympathetic overstimulation which can be hazardous to health in many ways. For instance, it can impair the sleep-wake cycle and circadian rhythm. It can also cause systemic and metabolic effects like hyperglycemia, obesity, and dysregulated neurotransmission.18Manish Kumar Shahnawaz Maqbool, Memory improvement by modafinil at cost of metabolic hazards? A study to decipher the benefits and risks of modafinil in rats NeuroToxicology. 202019Kimberly R. Urban, Wen-Jun Gao Performance enhancement at the cost of potential brain plasticity: neural ramifications of nootropic drugs in the healthy developing brain Front. Syst. Neurosci. 2014

Sleep problems

Natural Modafinil Alternatives

Modafinil is most popular as a sleep-evading drug, which is perhaps its most attractive feature, especially for students, corporate professionals, and tech workers.20Thierry Gallopin , Pierre-Hervé Luppi, Francis A Rambert, Armand Frydman, Patrice Fort, Effect of the wake-promoting agent modafinil on sleep-promoting neurons from the ventrolateral preoptic nucleus: an in vitro pharmacologic study Sleep. 200421Seyed Mohammad Reza Hashemiana, and Tayebeh Farhadi, A review on modafinil: the characteristics, function, and use in critical care J Drug Assess. 2020

However, chronic indiscriminate use of Modafinil can cause a lot of sleep-associated problems such as sleep paralysis, hypnagogic hallucinations, fragmented sleep, and cataplexy.22Eduardo Lopes Danielle Pereira Nilce Sanny Costada Silva Behrensa Hassanade Almeida Fonsecaa Paola Oliveir Calvancanti Taís Figueiredode Araújo LimaaMarciaPradella-Hallinana Juliana Castroa SergioTufika Fernando Morgadinho SantosCoelho, Cataplexy as a side effect of modafinil in a patient without narcolepsy Sleep Science. 201423Juan J Poza, Cataplexy worsened by modafinil Sleep. 2003

Modafinil Alternatives

Maximize your mental performance for peak productivity

NooCube

NooCube
Shop NowGet 20% off three bottles
Shop NowGet 20% off three bottles
  • Improves oxygenation, nutrient absorption and stimulate neurotransmitter production for better cognitive function

  • Stimulates the production of neurotransmitters

  • Supports increases in concentration, learning, short-term memory, and problem-solving

  • Reduce age-related cognitive decline while improving overall mental performance

NooCube is a revolutionary dietary supplement that provides cognitive benefits to help people with their everyday tasks.

It contains a unique blend of natural ingredients such as Lutemax, Bacopa monnieri, Huperzia Serrata, Pterostilbene, Resveratrol, L-theanine, L-tyrosine, Alpha GPC, Oat straw extract, Cat’s claw, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B7, and Vitamin B12.

Lutemax is derived from lutein and zeaxanthin and helps support optimal health by helping the body absorb light better. Bacopa monnieri helps boost memory and concentration by supporting neurotransmitters in the brain.

Huperzia Serrata boosts mental clarity by making it easier for your brain to process information quickly and accurately. Pterostilbene helps preserve healthy brain cells, while Resveratrol promotes overall brain health.

L-theanine works in combination with caffeine to provide more focused alertness without the jittery side effects generally associated with the caffeine alone.

L-Tyrosine aids in reducing mental fatigue, while alpha GPC helps improve memory formation after exercise or physical stress. Oat straw extract helps increase mental energy levels while cat’s claw supports cognitive function through its anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamins B1 (thiamin), B7 (biotin), and B12 (cobalamin) support healthy nervous system functioning crucial for all aspects of neural communication within the brain.

NooCube combines this unique blend of natural ingredients to create an effective solution for people looking to boost their focus and concentration when performing daily tasks or studying for exams or projects.

By providing improved cognitive abilities without the dangerous side effects of other prescription drugs, NooCube is an easy alternative for anyone looking to get ahead in life without risking their long-term health or productivity levels.

As someone who has used NooCube regularly, I can confidently say that it has made an incredible difference in my day-to-day life since taking it regularly over the past few months.

The combination of natural ingredients has allowed me to focus on my tasks throughout the day while providing increased energy levels so I can stay productive longer into the night if needed.

Overall I think NooCube is one of the best supplements out there right now – allowing people to boost their cognitive abilities safely and naturally – which is why I highly recommend it.

Pros

  • Preformulated for easy access to essential nootropics
  • Best value for nootropic cognitive enhancement
  • All-natural ingredients with no fillers/preservatives
  • Includes B-vitamins for enhanced metabolism

Cons

  • Some ingredients may be underdosed for specific nootropic therapy

Science-backed nutrition for your brain

Mind Lab Pro

Mind Lab Pro
Shop NowBuy 3 bottles, get 1 free with our links
Shop NowBuy 3 bottles, get 1 free with our links
  • Designed to optimize cognitive functions through 11 natural ingredients that work in 6 bio-pathways

  • Boosts serotonin levels which can help improve your mood, sleep quality, appetite control, stress management,

  • Mind Lab Pro helps improve focus, memory, clarity, energy levels without relying on stimulants or artificial additives

  • Contains premium forms of each ingredient for enhanced potency and activity, while avoiding potential side effects associated with lower quality ingredients

Mind Lab Pro aims to provide an all-in-one solution for improving mental health & performance without any harsh side effects like those associated with prescription medications or other supplements on the market today.

It contains 11 clinically studied ingredients that work synergistically to improve focus, memory, clarity, and energy levels. For example, Rhodiola Rosea helps reduce fatigue, while Citicoline increases alertness and concentration. Phosphatidylserine helps protect neurons from damage, while L-Theanine helps reduce stress and anxiety.

In addition to these ingredients, Mind Lab Pro also contains Lion’s Mane Mushroom, which has been shown to stimulate Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). These proteins are important for developing new neurons in the brain and releasing neurotransmitters such as dopamine, which can help improve mood and focus.

Mind Lab Pro has been developed to affect the following six key bio-pathways:

  • Neuro-Energy Metabolism
  • Antioxidant Enhancements
  • Neurotransmitter Support
  • Neural Structures Protection
  • Stress/Anxiety Resistance
  • Brain Circulation/Oxygenation

The recommended dosage is two capsules daily in the morning or early afternoon. You can safely increase your dose to four capsules daily during increased cognitive demand. Taking Mind Lab Pro with water, juice, or coffee is best.

I’ve been using Mind Lab Pro for several extended periods of high-demand brain activity, and I can confidently say that it lives up to its claims.

If you are looking for a natural supplement to help boost your cognitive performance, then Mind Lab Pro is an excellent choice to get the most out of your day and start building toward long-term cognitive performance.

Pros

  • Proven to boost overall cognitive performance including memory, focus, mood, creativity, motivation, and overall well-being.
  • Potent blend of all-natural nootropics, herbs, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Good for experienced biohackers and those new to nootropics.
  • Caffeine Free
  • No artificial fillers or toxic preservatives
  • Affordable Price, money back guarantee

Cons

  • Ingredients are lower dosed.

Energy Crystals: CZTL Methylene Blue

CZTL Methylene Blue

4.5
CZTL Methylene Blue
View OfferFree Tracked Shipping
View OfferFree Tracked Shipping
  • Fast Effects

  • Clear Energy

  • Improves Mood

CZTL methylene blue provides a short burst of stimulation, motivation, mood lift, and mental clarity by improving oxygen flow and electron transport in the brain and body. The small crystals dissolve completely with no residue or particles. Effects are felt within 5 minutes but last 30 minutes max. Despite the esoteric name suggesting synthetic origin, CZTL is simply ultra-pure methylene blue.

Pros

  • Occasional Use
  • No Fillers
  • Motivation on Demand

Cons

  • Potential for Serotonin Syndrome
  • Undefined Regulatory Status
  • Not for Daily Use
  • Can Stain Skin and Urine Blue Temporarily
  • Terminal Half-life Under 2 hours

Lion’s Mane – Real Mushrooms

Lion’s Mane by Real Mushroom

Lion's Mane by Real Mushroom
Shop NowBest Value, Highest Quality Mushroom
Shop NowBest Value, Highest Quality Mushroom
  • Clinically proven to boost neurogenesis

  • Contains Anti-Inflammatory Compounds

  • Shown to help improve memory, focus, concentration and overall cognitive performance.

  • Can boost immunity in the body

Lion’s Mane mushroom is a potent nootropic that stands out because of its unique ability to improve focus, concentration, and memory.

This potent mushroom has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, but recent research has uncovered even more benefits. Studies have shown that Lion’s Mane contains compounds called hericenones and erinacines, which can help stimulate the growth of nerve cells in the brain. This means that this nootropic not only helps improve mental performance and focus but it also helps to protect against age-related memory decline.

On top of this, Lion’s Mane also has amazing anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the body, helping with conditions like arthritis and digestive issues like constipation. It has even been found to boost the immune system by increasing white blood cells and antibodies.

Finally, some heart health benefits are associated with Lion’s Mane mushrooms as well – studies have shown that these mushrooms may help reduce cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. For those looking for a natural way to boost their mental performance or protect against age-related memory decline, look no further than Lion’s Mane mushroom!


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Convenient, Affordable Cold Plunge

Plunge

5
Plunge
Shop NowUse code HN150 to save $150 at checkout!
Shop NowUse code HN150 to save $150 at checkout!
  • Full-sized cold therapy tub that functions much like a hot tub—but with temps that’ll chill you to the bone instead of warm you up.

  • Best Ice Bath Ever: The Cold Plunge eliminates the hassle of traditional ice baths and provides full-body immersion for most body sizes and heights.

  • The Cold Plunge is a full-sized cold therapy tub that uses continuous cooling to get water down to temps of 39 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • It hooks up to a GFCI outlet and can continuously cool water down to temperatures of 39 degrees.

  • The Cold Plunge is a cold-water immersion tub that replaces the need for ice and hours spent going to the store, buying ice, and dumping it into a tub.

Cold plunges are a relatively new form of cognitive enhancement that have become increasingly popular in recent years.

This method is based on the concept of cold-induced stress, which has been clinically proven to improve cognitive function and mental alertness.

Studies have indicated that cold plunges can reduce stress hormones while increasing alertness, focus, and creativity.

Additionally, these treatments benefit those with chronic pain issues and individuals seeking improved sleep quality.

The Plunge is a safe, convenient way to experience the benefits of cold plunging without having to keep hundreds of pounds of ice on hand.

This unit utilizes a patented cooling system to chill water to temperatures between 39 – 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Users can program their Plunge session’s desired temperature and duration directly from their smartphone.

It also features an LCD display with temperature and time readouts and an auto-shutoff feature for safety.

Pros

  • Full cold-plunge benefits
  • 12 month 0% financing Available
  • A convenient alternative to traditional ice baths and deep freezer units
  • Free delivery to US homes in the lower 48
  • Highly rated by customers

Cons

  • High up-front cost

#1 Red Light Sauna

SaunaSpace

SaunaSpace
Shop NowGet 5% off entire order w/ code HOLISTICNOOTROPICS
Shop NowGet 5% off entire order w/ code HOLISTICNOOTROPICS
  • High quality full-spectrum infrared saunas

  • Customizable sauna sizes and finishes

  • Optional near, mid & far infrared heatmap settings

  • 100-day money-back guarantee

  • EMF-Free

  • Handcrafted in the USA

Sauna Space is my top pick for red light therapy.

Each Sauna Space red light sauna includes hand-crafted, incandescent red light bulbs that deliver full-spectrum red light with additional sauna heating benefits.

These particular bulbs mimic the sun’s natural red-light spectrum, delivering more mitochondrial enhancing benefits than the typical EMF-emitting LED bulb found in most standard red light panels.
You also get the added sauna component for enhanced detox and immunity benefits without the harmful EMFs.

Sauna Space offers something for everyone from a simple spot-therapy photon light, all the way up to an all-inclusive Farady sauna that’s like having a fancy spa right in your living room.
These saunas are American-made and come with a 100-day money-back guarantee.

Use the link above to learn more, and save 5% on your purchase by using the code HOLISTICNOOTROPICS at checkout.

Pros

  • SaunaSpace is very easy to use. Smaller models are ready out of the box.
  • SaunaSpace Photon is very portable. It is small enough to fit in a suitcase, so you can take it with you when you travel.
  • SaunaSpace Photon produces very little heat. This means that you can use it for a more extended period of time without feeling uncomfortable.
  • Many models and levels to choose from. Single bulb photon light all the way up to Luminati Infrared Sauna
  • EMF-Free!
  • Sauna Space full-spectrum incandescent bulbs give more infrared health benefits than LCD bulbs of other red light devices.

Cons

  • Saunas are a major investment
  • Lead times can be 6-8 weeks

The Most Advanced Consumer PEMF Device on the Market

NeoRhythm by OmniPEMF

  • Drug-free cognitive enhancement

  • Portable and easy to use

  • Backed by clinical studies

  • Syncs with mobile app

  • 30-day money back guarantee

OMNIPEMF NeoRhythm is a unique device that emits electromagnetic waves at different frequencies in order to encourage the body’s natural recovery process. PEMF therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment for a variety of conditions, and the NeoRhythm is one of the most advanced PEMF devices on the market.

The human body, brain, and the whole nervous system act like tuners that receive signals from outside the body. Once the signal is tuned properly, the body begins to resonate synchronously (entrain) with the signal. The NeoRhythm uses this entraining, signal-synchronization process to perform the desired actions in the body.

By emitting Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta, and Gamma waves at different frequencies, the NeoRhythm is able to encourage the body’s natural healing process. Delta waves are associated with deep sleep, Theta waves with relaxation and meditation, Alpha waves with a calm state of mind, the Beta waves with concentration and focus, and Gamma waves with higher cognitive functioning.

The NeoRhythm is portable and easy to use, making it an ideal choice for those who want to experience the benefits of PEMF therapy without having to visit a doctor or clinic.

If you’re looking for a PEMF device that is portable, easy to use, and offers a variety of frequencies to choose from, the OMNIPEMF NeoRhythm is a great option.


Conclusion

Although Modafinil is the “Limitless” pill, it can have limiting side effects, so finding natural Modafinil alternatives is desirable.

At the end of the day focusing on basic holistic health principals along with the aforementioned natural alternatives will bring you the true cognitive enhancement you need to be truly limitless!


References

Biohack Your Brainpower

Stay ahead with our newsletter: cutting-edge biohacking tips and the latest in nootropics, all in one place.
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Author

Erik Abramowitz is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP), Naturopathic Doctoral student, health coach, and father. He is the primary content creator for HolisticNootropics.com and the host of the Holistic Nootropics Podcast.

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