Nootropics & Circadian Rhythms

Nootropics & Circadian Rhythms

All living creatures require an adequate sleep cycle in order to feel rested and replenished.  Circadian rhythms refer to the mental, physical and behavioral changes which occur in us after a twenty-four hour cycle. We react to light and darkness in our environment and this can present a problem for many people, including those who work night shifts and those suffering from insomnia.

Nootropics have proven helpful in treating any number of sleep-related disorders. Here we will explore the effects they can have on our circadian rhythms vis-a-vis the effects they have on those who are sleep deprived. We will also suss out the ideal stacks for achieving an ideal circadian rhythm.


Picamilon is well-known as a supplement that promotes relaxation and restfulness. Fundamentally, it is a conglomeration of niacin and GABA and is hydrolyzed into these two constituent parts as it crosses the blood-brain barrier. As an inhibitory neurotransmitter, the GABA element of Picamilon enables nerves to be calmed. Picamilon’s Niacin element performs extreme vasodilation, improving blood circulation to the brain. The increase in blood flow from taking Picamilon results in an uptake of oxygen to the brain. As anyone who has taken a long road trip with the windows rolled down can tell you, more oxygen means more sleepiness.

Picamilon has been shown to have the following effects on circadian rhythm:

What makes Picamilon an ideal supplement for improving our circadian rhythms is its virtually complete lack of negative side effects. Among those adverse reactions reported, there have been experiences of inability to think clearly. Dr. Ray Sahelian has noted that users complain of a low mood if they take the supplement too many consecutive days in a row.

Polyphasic Society, a website dedicated to “sleep mastery,” recommends the following as an appropriate Picamilon stack:

  • Melatonin 0.25 mg (to be taken in the evening)
  • Melatonin 5 mg (to be taken at dawn)
  • Vitamin D 5,000 IU (to be administered in the morning)


Aniracetam is a racetam nootropic that is renowned for its efficacy in aiding efficient sleep patterns and obliterating sleep-related issues. By accelerating the utilization of Serotonin and Dopamine, Aniracetam unlocks the neurochemical potential to properly regulate movement, sleep, mood and relaxation levels.

A natural anti-depressant as well, Aniracetam alleviates stress and has a positive impact on our circadian rhythm by vanquishing feelings of sluggishness and fatigue. In fact, studies with rats have proven Aniracetam’s ability to eliminate circadian rhythm disorders.

Unlike Picamilon, Aniracetam pairs well with Choline as it is known to prevent any possible side effect of insomnia. It may also stack well with Oxiracetam, but users are urged to carefully monitor their usage and the results on their circadian rhythm as some have observed unwanted outcomes when combining similar supplements.

Unfortunately, Aniracetam differes in other ways from Picamilon as well. Whereas Picamilon users generally don’t suffer from any substantial side effects, Aniracetam may cause a number of them. These include: Headaches, vertigo, diarrhea, anxiety and, most ironically, insomnia.

Huperzine A

A sesquiterpene alkaloid compound now offered in capsule form, Huperzine A is one mood enhancer with a strong reputation for increasing levels of REM (Rapid Eye Movement). Without reaching REM, we do not get a truly restful night’s sleep. Another example of the effectiveness of these sleep-boosting nootropics can be found in Aniracetam’s potential for unlocking lucid dreaming. This kind of enhanced, controlled dreaming usually only occurs in persons who are in a deep state of slumber and serenity.

Huperzine A is a worthy contender for sleep aid and one that is popular among those afflicted with a derangement of circadian rhythm. Widely used to treat Alzheimer’s Disease and other cognitive insufficiencies, Huperzine can also be implemented to improve learning capability. For this reason, it is ideal for those who work grueling late night shifts. It can sharpen their focus after lack of sleep and promote calm when lying down to get some proper shut eye.

It is unclear whether Huperzine A would stack well with any of the above, although additional evidence points to it being valuable on its own for building muscle, and engaging in regular and sustained exercise.

As with Aniracetam, there are a slew of unwanted reactions that can occur when taking Huperzine A. They include, but are not limited to, sweating, urinary incontinence, twitching, vomiting, diarrhea and blurred vision. It is not advisable to take Huperzine if you suffer from hypertension.


Phenibut is a central depressant derived from an inhibitory neurotransmitter. It has been shown to delay the aging process, boosting vitality in the elderly as well as younger, more casual users. Phenibut has a positive impact on your circadian rhythm by advancing mood and concentration, expanding focus, promoting relaxation and wiping out anxiety and depression. Tranquility is key to an optimal circadian rhythm. Phenibut enables one to achieve this tranquility. It is said to instill “extreme calmness.”

Phenibut stacks well with L-Theanine for the purposes of upgrading your mood and placing yourself in a more meditative state. Pairing it with Alpha GPC and Bacopa monnieri is also encouraged, amongst other supplements.

Of the nootropics mentioned above, Phenibut may be what you’d call a last resort for the ends we are discussing here. According to, Phenibut has some serious drawbacks; they go so far as to call the drug’s side effects “brutally awful.” Quick tolerance to this nootropic is not uncommon and the withdrawal symptoms are fierce. They include:

  • Tremors
  • Agitation
  • Fatigue
  • Psychosis
  • Nausea
  • Tension
  • Apoplexy
  • Hallucination
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety

Additional information about improvement of circadian rhythm and what supplements benefit it the most can be found here, here and here.

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Erica Silva
Senior Editor
Erica Silva is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs. Currently, she is associated with DementiaTalk Team.

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