Natural Alternative to Provigil

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When your sleep is disrupted—whether by stress or a disorder such as narcolepsy, your whole world can be turned upside down. Provigil is a widely used drug for patients with sleep disorders, but some people don't like taking prescription medications and are looking for a natural, herbal alternative.

Background

Provigil is the first of its kind in a new class of drugs that help keep you awake. It is often used to treat narcolepsy and excessive sleepiness. The active ingredient is modafinil, which promotes concentration and memory and is a mood enhancer. It is not available over-the-counter, so you will need a prescription. If you plan to take Provigil for anything other than a sleep disorder it may cost you between $250 and $350 per month, as insurance companies cover some of the cost, but only for approved uses.

How It works

According to provigilweb.org, research, including at Duke University and Stanford University, indicates that Provigil works in the brain's dopamine system. It increases alertness for those who are consistently sleepy and is most effective two hours after it is ingested. Side effects can range from a severe allergic reaction to dry mouth, runny nose, sore throat, insomnia, numbness and tingling.

Who Should Take Provigil?

Provigil is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for those older than 16. It is primarily used to treat sleep disorders, but some doctors prescribe it for weight loss and other issues, such as depression, memory decline, fatigue, jet lag and attention deficit disorder (ADD).

Alternatives

Natural alternatives to Provigil that you can add to your diet to increase your energy level include cayenne, calcium and magnesium, as well as all B vitamins. If you need supplements to help you sleep at night, try valerian root, St. John’s wort, hops, lavender or a melatonin supplement. Exercise helps promote healthy sleep cycles and combats depression and anxiety. Make sure you develop an awakening and sleeping routine and stick to it. Avoid alcohol and nicotine, as they can disrupt sleep schedules. Some people benefit from taking a nap during the day. Other holistic remedies, such as acupuncture, hypnosis and other alternative therapies, may also help symptoms.

Warning

Talk to your doctor before starting any alternative herbs or supplements, as some can cause unwanted side effects when mixed with other medications (such as birth control pills).

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