“When should I take my nootropics?” is one of the questions most frequently asked by nootropic users. This is an exceptionally difficult question to reply to, as there are a host of distinct variables that determine the most suitable time to take “smart drugs” for ultimate cognitive advantages. Luckily, nootropics can aid with every aspect of cognition, whether you spend your days in the office, on the flight, in class, in the gym, etc. As to when to take a nootropic, the answer differs based on the unique lifestyles of users. Well, that’s precisely what we’ll discuss in this guide.

What Are Nootropics?

Nootropics, or “smart drugs,” are a wide range of natural or synthetic supplements, meds, & other substances claimed to ameliorate cognitive function with benefits such as heightened mood, improved executive functions, enhanced creativity & motivation, and increased attention & memory in healthy individuals.

There are two major types of nootropics [1]:

  • prescription nootropics such as modafinil (Provigil & generics), a stimulant that treats extreme daytime drowsiness, Adderall, which contains amphetamines to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, memantine (Axura), which is used to cope with Alzheimer’s disease, & methylphenidate (or Ritalin), which manage symptoms of ADHD & narcolepsy;
  • over-the-counter “smart drugs”: These are natural or synthetic supplements that heighten mental performance & don’t require a prescription. Some of them include caffeine, L-theanine, omega-3 fatty acids, ginkgo biloba, Panax ginseng, Rhodiola rosea, creatine, & racetams (i.e., piracetam, phenylpiracetam, aniracetam, & oxiracetam).

These nootropics aid you with coping with the numerous distinct cognitive demands you face daily. No matter what you do, if you have got a job, you’re probably expected to be motivated, awake, focused, creative, energized, & productive in the workplace. Besides, your boss wants you to work exceptionally well without exhibiting any strange signs of mood imbalance or low motivation. This is where you may need such “smart drugs.”

Remarkably, various cognitive augmenters have a distinct onset of action & half-life. Some consider snorting nootropics like modafinil to get a quicker onset of action. Undoubtedly, the Internet has an extensive modafinil snorting discussion. Although modafinil offers exceptional cognitive benefits & it’s possible to snort it, we don’t recommend doing this. This is because it wasn’t created for snorting, it’s not water-soluble, & it has no powder form [2].

Overall, efficacious nootropics can help support & maintain every aspect of cognitive functions. Also, they should be ingested at a specified time to initiate optimal effects. Before we discover when to take such meds, let’s find out how these “smart tabs” work.

How Do Nootropics Exactly Work?

Nootropics boost the levels of neurotransmitters & brainwaves that aid your brain in functioning properly. They work by augmenting acetylcholine, which boosts memory, learning, & thinking. Nootropics also increase the concentrations of dopamine for rewards such as improved mood & motivation (the pleasure-reward pathway), serotonin, which aids relaxation & deep satisfaction, norepinephrine to heighten attention & focus, and augments the levels of epinephrine, aka adrenaline, which helps with intense energy. “Smart drugs” also control the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which inhibits excessive excitation [3].

“Smart drugs” may also support neuroprotection & neuroregeneration for various cognitive rewards.

What Is the Best Time of Day to Take Nootropics?

Your brain is more active during the daytime unless you’re working the night shift. If your unique cognitive demands are highest during the day, it’s best to administer nootropics either in the morning or afternoon before your brain faces peak activity. A physician should guide you on when & how to take such meds.

Some of the benefits of using nootropics during the day include the following:

  • ameliorated memory;
  • eliminated brain fog;
  • heightened alertness & focus;
  • balanced mood;
  • boosted energy;
  • reduced stress;
  • heightened learning & creativity;
  • reinforced motivation;
  • reduced free radicals.

We urge you to administer cognitive augmenters in the morning or afternoon to heighten your performance throughout the day. Nonetheless, if your cognitive demands are distinctive or more intense than usual (e.g., fighting age-related cognitive decline), you can raise your nootropic intake by popping one dose in the morning & one in the evening. This is only if you take an all-natural, stimulant-free nootropic like the famous supplement Mind Lab Pro. 

Nonetheless, administer your “smart tab” before you start dealing with cognitively demanding tasks. The body has to absorb the drug’s ingredients before you experience the expected benefits. Give it some time to kick in.

Further, if you ought to be cognitively alert at night, administering nootropics at a later time can optimize your performance. But what are some other benefits of taking it at night?

You might not know it, but the brain usually functions just as hard at night as it does in the daytime. Nonetheless, cognitive tasks tend to be much less demanding at night compared to during the day.

This allows the brain to rest & regenerate. And resting doesn’t demand intense cognitive performance. Consequently, administering nootropics at night tends to be less efficacious unless you’re active at night. It may also aid in thwarting age-related cognitive decline that can impede daily cognitive performance.

Other advantages of administering cognitive augmenters at night include inducing focused relaxation, fighting stress, stimulating brain regeneration, heightening healthy sleep patterns, & initiating anti-aging properties.


The best time of day to take nootropics depends on many factors. If you are super active in the morning, administer a tablet when you wake up. Taking a “smart tab” about 1 or 2 hours before you encounter difficult cognitive tasks can optimize your performance. Conversely, when you administer a nootropic before bed, undoubtedly, you may end up being asleep when its effects begin to kick in. Hence, you may not experience conspicuous cognitive performance augmentation. Nonetheless, if you’re more active at night, administering “smart drugs” in the evening may work best. Double-dosing by ingesting such meds during the day & at night may be most suitable for those facing extraordinary cognitive demands & schedules.


  1. What are nootropics (smart drugs)? By Jennifer Berry. Medically reviewed by Alan Carter, Pharm.D. Published: September 18, 2019.       Medicalnewstoday.com.
  2. Modafinil. Last modified: August 13, 2022. Retrieved: August 16, 2022. Pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  3. Nootropic. Retrieved: August 16, 2022. Sciencedirect.com.

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After finding out about modafinil, I immediately noticed the poor state of information about it online and it sparked my desire to discover more and share this knowledge with others. To help interested individuals including students and professionals with insight about a nootropic drug, I’ve created the Modafinil.org website which includes informative product guides, vendor reviews, buyer guides for different countries, and more.

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