Use Modafinil to Fix your Sleep Debt
Picture this: You just got home from a real late night out with your friends and it’s 4 AM. You need to be up at 6 to be at work by 7, and there’s no calling off. You’re in a pickle, what do you do?
While you probably should have planned your activities more wisely, these things happen. Whether you’re a college student who studies (or partied) ‘til dawn, a parent whose children didn’t stop crying all night, or just a regular human dealing with life emergencies that come up, we all have nights where we don’t sleep as much as we should.
Even our regular sleep is declining. The CDC in the US reported that over 30% of adults get 6 or less hours of sleep a night, below the recommended 7 hours or more.
The result is that more people are experiencing sleep deficit, also known as sleep debt. And studies have proven that sleeping for 6 hours a night for 10 nights in a row (a deficit of 10-20 hours) has the exact same effects as missing a whole night of sleep.
Using Modafinil to Cope with Sleep Debt
The classic advice has always been the obvious advice: Get more sleep! Naps are proven to work, but of course we can’t all be nodding off in the middle of class or work. If you can’t adjust your schedule to allow for more sleeping time, then modafinil is an excellent short-term solution.
A 1999 study showed that when people had been sleep deprived (missing one night’s sleep or more) modafinil restored their performance to near-baseline levels. Interestingly, these subjects had no problems taking naps while on modafinil. It seems that when your body is truly sleep deprived, modafinil won’t interfere with sleeping.
And even doctors on night shift found modafinil extremely beneficial. A clinical trial in 2012 tested modafinil on doctors who had to work all night. A 200mg dose was given to them towards the end of their shift, and then the doctors took tests that measured their decision making, working memory, and planning abilities around 8 AM, after modafinil had taken effect.
The results were impressive. Placebo participants scored much lower than the modafinil tested doctors.
Why Sleep Debt Matters
The effects of sleep debt are detrimental to society. Car accidents increase greatly as studies show that driving without sleep is just as bad as drink driving. Companies lose productivity as workers cannot perform at their regular levels. Students’ grades suffer. And in the case of professions like doctors or emergency rescue workers, a lack of sleep could literally mean the loss of someone’s life.
While modafinil is useful for combatting sleep debt, it still is no replacement for actual sleep. While you might be able to get away with a day or two without proper shut-eye, don’t make skipping sleeping your routine.