A Look at Modafinil and Getting an Entrepreneurial Edge, the Natural Way While "smart drug" Modafinil has recently been in the limelight, we wanted to provide tips on how to naturally get energized.

By Adam and Mathew Toren

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Increased concentration. Unlimited energy. The ability to stay laser focused during all-night strategy sessions. Buzz on the entrepreneurial street is you can get these superhuman effects by popping prescription pill Modafinil, the new "it" cognitive-enhancing drug.

Prescribed to treat narcolepsy, it has been reported that an increasing number of healthy entrepreneurs are using this "smart drug" to give themselves an edge or help weather the long days and late nights it takes to run a startup. Effects of popping a pill include increased productivity, motivation, attention, mental clarity and cognitive abilities. And while Adderal and Ritalin have been known to provide similar effects, Modafinil is being marketed as non-habit forming -- making it a piping-hot commodity.

Related: 4 Strategies Used by Superstar Athletes to Become Super Focused

Modafinil has made the media rounds in the past. In 2008, Michael Arrington, the founder of tech blog TechCrunch, called it "the entrepreneur's drug of choice." The drug is gaining new attention in the world of startups. Among others, Dave Asprey, the man behind The Bulletproof Executive web forum, admitted to using Modafinil to supercharge his efforts. And New York Magazine recently chronicled the use of the drug among entrepreneur circles.

As entrepreneurs are always looking for an edge, Modafinil may seem like an attractive option. Yet, while taking drugs to get the upper hand in a dog-eat-dog world may be en vogue these days, the possible side effects, such as back pain, headaches and nausea, along with the ethical conundrum would hopefully be enough to push you way. But even if drugs like Modafinil continue to make headlines, we prefer a drug-free route to entrepreneurial success. From exercise to supplements, here are our tips for getting an edge, the natural way:

1) Supplements: Some experts believe supplements added to your diet, especially one deprived of required nutrients, can boost your energy levels.

  • CoQ10, a coenzyme, claims it increases energy and speeds up recovery from exercise.
  • Resveratrol has been marketed to ramp up endurance and is linked to prevention of age-related diseases.
  • Maca supplements are derived from the plant's root, an area rich in energy-boosting B vitamins.
  • Vitamins like B6, B12, folic acid, thiamine and niacin are also believed to support the metabolism process and may increase a person's energy.

2) Exercise: Researchersaffirm that getting your heart rate up and blood pumping will help raise your energy long term. Another reason to hit the gym? Exercise is known to release endorphins, which not only staves off depression but can also help with mental clarity, reasoning and other cognitive processes. Even a simple 15-minute walk can increase your energy level, say researchers.

Related: How to Train Your Brain to Stay Positive

3) High-protein diets: Foods high in protein and chock full of amino acids are known to give a little boost. When you get hungry try nuts, quinoa, fish or beans. Stay away from carb filled diets, as they can cause a sugar spike, followed by an energy crash.

4) Sleep:Lack of sleep can impair concentration, problem solving and cognitive functioning–things no entrepreneur wants to be without. Skimping on sleep has also been shown to potentially cause serious health problems including depression, heart disease and stroke. Getting seven to eight hours of sleep every night, will make your waking hours more productive and energy filled.

How do you stay energized? Share your thoughts here in the comments section.

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