3 Nootropic Supplements For Night Shift Workers

Tired night shift worker

Staying up all night is no fun, at least not when you’re working! Humans are diurnal, not nocturnal, animals by nature. Our body and brain are naturally designed to be alert and active during the day while resting during the night. That’s how our ancestors operated for thousands of years.

If your job requires you to stay awake and active during the night, then you probably have figured out a few tricks to keep yourself up and running during odd hours. Many people resort to temporary quick fixes, like consuming caffeine, energy drinks, supplements or drugs.

3 Anti-Fatigue Nootropic Supplements

Nootropics include various types of supplements and drugs that are taken for the purpose of enhancing cognitive performance and mental capacity.

Some nootropics have a stimulant effect and these are usually used to boost energy, alertness and cognitive functions. Other nootropics have a depressant effect and these are usually used by people who suffer from anxiety and insomnia.

And then there are adaptogenic nootropics, which are not particularly stimulatory or inhibitory, but rather they are used to help the body adapt to stress and enhance both physical and mental performance under stressful situations.

The following are three over-the-counter nootropic supplements that can prove beneficial for people working night shifts, students studying for extended hours during the night, or anyone who needs to stay awake and alert for extended hours.

These include one natural supplement and two pharmaceutical-grade synthetic nootropics. All of these are legal to buy without a prescription in most countries (including the U.S.)

1. Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola rosea is an herb that grows in many parts of the world and has been used in traditional medicine for several health issues.

The root of rhodiola rosea contains many bioactive compounds including antioxidants, flavonoids, phenols, rosavin, terpenoids and others. The root powder and extracts are used as an adaptogen to increase the body’s resilience to stress and reduce fatigue.

There are some promising studies suggesting that rhodiola rosea may reduce physical and mental fatigue during night duty and under other stressful circumstances.[1][2][3]

Feedback from consumers who have used rhodiola rosea is mixed between positive and negative experiences, but most users seem to have experienced some improvement.

As an herbal supplement, it is typical that this won’t work for everyone, however, taking into account the few positive studies and many positive personal experiences, rhodiola rosea is definitely worth a try before considering more serious substances/drugs.

You can buy rhodiola rosea capsules from PureFormulas.

2. Adrafinil

Adrafinil is synthetic eugeroic (wakefulness-promoting) compound that was developed in France. It is a precursor to modafinil, and both compounds have a mild stimulant and arousing effect.

Originally, adrafinil was used to improve symptoms of narcolepsy: a sleep disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue and poor concentration. Today, modafinil (the active metabolite of adrafinil) is the only approved drug of the two for narcolepsy and it requires a prescription to purchase.

Adrafinil is not FDA approved and it can be purchased over the counter as long as it is not intended to treat any health condition. Today, adrafinil is widely used as an OTC nootropic supplement to promote alertness, focus and productivity.

Not everyone may benefit from adrafinil, but many people who work for long hours or don’t get enough sleep have reported that it was helpful.

There are no worrying side effects associated with adrafinil, and its stimulant effect is rather weak compared to other prescription stimulants. It does not normally cause anxiety or agitation, although these side effects are possible, especially with higher doses.

Adrafinil is not recommended for daily use, though. It needs to be metabolized and converted into modafinil in the liver, a process that causes elevated liver enzymes and can stress out your liver with frequent use.

This nootropic is more suitable for occasional use when you really need to stay awake and focused for prolonged hours.

You can buy adrafinil from Nootropics Depot.

3. Phenylpiracetam

This is another synthetic compound with a mild stimulant effect, and this one was developed in Russia to help cosmonauts adapt to the stress caused by working in space.

Phenylpiracetam is an approved medication in Russia (sold under the brand names Phenotropil and Carphedon), where it is used to treat certain health conditions including anxiety, stress, depression, cognitive decline and others.

This drug is not approved or regulated by the FDA, but it is one of the most widely used nootropic supplements. Many users reported experiencing improvement in mental performance after taking phenylpiracetam.

Just like adrafinil, this compound is also not suitable for daily use. It should only be considered as a temporary quick fix for those days when no herbal or natural supplement can do the trick.

You can buy phenylpiracetam from Nootropics Depot.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11081987/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3541197/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23443221/

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