Tag Archives: nootropics

Nootropics 2010: Starting the year off smartly

I’m in the mood to look at nootropics (smart drugs) again. Here are some things I think are good and that should be harmless at the recommended levels on the package. I’m not a physician, so don’t take my word for it.

Non-synthetic: I have tried these and found a subtle effect.

Fish oil (inexpensive suplement)
A good Multivitamin and Multimineral that includes:
Vitamin C
Vitamin B12
Emergen-C contains the above plus pantothenic acid, minerals, alpha lipoic acid, and quercetin

Add a good placebo like Nature’s Bounty Ginkgo Biloba, Flavay flavanoids, or any other such thing.

Lifestyle: Keeping healthy habits is a big deal, and I found that lifestyle effects were at least as potent as the above.

adequate, natural sleep (for me 8 hours works well)
exercise (30-45 minutes, weights and a short run, 3-4 times per week)
sunlight (a 20 minute walk outside when I am low on gumption)

From the Bowels of the Internet: Here are a bunch of things that random people on the internet recommend. I don’t recommend them, and I have not tried them. If you have, send me an email.

Supposedly, these promote a restful sleep:
Phenibut (“Relax-All Capsules”)
Melatonin (natural sleep aid)
5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP, another supplement)

Supposedly, these promote alertness and mental acuity:
Deprenyl (Zelapar, oral lozenge, prescription)
DL-Phenylalanine (DLPA, marketed as a nutritional supplement)
Galantamine (“GalantaMind”, also a supplement)
Vinpocetine (“cerebral metabolism” supplement)
Dimethyaminoethanol (DMAE, another supplement)
Piracetam (another supplement)


Getting enough sleep is key, but how much is enough?

I posted about some gumption traps before, and I mentioned caffeine as one of my favorite solutions. The underlying issue, of course, is sleep. Not too long ago, I made a note of the fact that even the simplest creatures imaginable have something like sleep. Evidently, it is pretty important.

According to this article over at news.yahoo.com, most people perform best on about 7.5 hours per night. My experience is consistent with the results presented in the news bit. Too little sleep leaves me uncreative and groggy; too much and I am lethargic. There is a balance to be struck. My problem is mornings. I hate getting up. I always feel less tired when I go to sleep than I do when I wake. That makes no sense. It drives me crazy. I’ll be rearing to go at midnight, and I force myself to go to bed then have to meditate to calm down enough to fall asleep. Then I wake up 8 hours later when the alarm goes off and I fell like my world will cave in if I don’t get 4 more hours of sleep. It’s absurd.

I’ve tried polyphasic sleep (I live a 7 min walk away from my work, so I can go home to sleep if I want). I’ve tried the rolling 28 hour day. They both left me with horrific nightmares. I felt like I was on a fast track to a mental breakdown. It was not good. So I muddle along.

I have mentioned nootropics here as well. I have not tried anything except caffeine. Maybe that’s why people get into them. Matt (that other guy on this site) sent me the sleep article; he also tells me that the use of nootropics is common among pharmaceutical representatives (he used to be one). Go figure. Think of science as the Sport of the Mind, except that there’s no rule against doping. Makes me want to go get a bottle of Nerve Tonic.