Some of you might be asking, B-Phizzle, how the hell did you graduate university when you’re so busy putting bath salts down your tear ducts or blacking out for days at a time on homemade 1000 proof liquor? No one wants to hear “study and hard work.” This is New York. We don’t have time for that. The bar closes at 4am and I have to be up by 8am to hurl myself onto the train. Wall Street, start-up code monkeys, med students — all of us — we don’t have the culture that lets us get the sleep we need.

The New Yorkest of solutions? A local coffee shop’s coffee in a bespoke IV. The more reasonable one? Nootropics or “smart drugs.”

Nootropics or “smart drugs” are memory or cognitive enhancers. There’s a ton of them, with quite a few more down the pipeline if you’re the kind of gal that watches FDA clinical trial requests, but there’s one category I’m focused on here, the eugeroics or wakefulness promoters — Provigil or modafinil; Nuvigil or armodafinil; and Olmifon or adrafinil — but specifically, modafinil.

The eugeroics don’t get you hopped up like the traditional smart drugs, Adderall (amphetamine) and Ritalin (methylphenidate). There is no speedy feeling. There is no euphoria either. If you’re looking to get high, get out. There’s a gentleness to the touch of modafinil. It slowly lifts you out of fatigue. You’re no longer sleepy. You’ve had the best night’s sleep in years. The clouds that fog up your mind begin to clear out. Within an hour you’ll be IN THE ZONE. Things will come easily. Motivation will be there. Work won’t be work. It’ll truly be something you enjoy. You can treat it like the true craftsman you are, lovingly draping attention upon your project, polishing it here and there and powering through blocks. I believe the mood elevation and hunger suppression are just a consequence of focused you are. There aren’t even any noticeable side effects besides looking like you’re having a good day.

A friend will Facebook message you about how tired they are and that’s when you notice it’s 7am and while they’ve been sleeping, you’ve been up Getting Work (or Something That Feels Like Work) Done and guess who’s the exhausted one? Hahaha. Bet you’ll get to the office before them too. Welcome to the new you.

As proper drugs made by a pharmaceutical company you’ll be able to find pill markings and use an online pill identifier to see if its the drug you want. The dosage is 150-400mg for modafinil and armodafinil, it is 300-800mg for adrafinil. Dosing should start on the low end and work up. Adrafinil can be purchased legally but the other two will need less than legal online pharmacies. There are a few sellers out there who might be able to get pure powder. Since a dose is ~200mg it is actually much easier to use the cheap milligram scale to measure it out. You can buy “capping machines” cheaply on the internet to put them into neat capsules. No need for dosehacks with syringes. These are the advantages of legality.

Modafinil and armodafinil are Schedule IV drugs like Xanax. That means prescription only and the DEA is ostensibly watching. See your doctor, one of the indications is “shift work sleep disorder” which means that you work late nights often and that ruins your sleep schedule. Sure, “work” may be tweaking test harnesses for unit testing of the new source code before deployment for days with 36-hour-code sprints or getting some angel investors drunk off their ass on St. Marks until VP of Biz Dev Mike Sallisbury is crying about his marriage, but it’s still work. Leave out those details and you should be able to get a prescription. Emphasize the functional impairment it causes to your job and stress that you cannot leave this job. Thinking about your rent is a good way to get realistic anxiety.

The comedown is natural feeling. You’ll feel exhausted, mentally and physically. It’s like you’ve had a long hard day. Muscles that you were exerting will start to burn, you’ll be yawning, but this is the good tired. You got everything done, and then some. It’s never easier to fall asleep than knowing you finished it all.

Nothing in life is free, however. While doctors initially thought that these drugs lacked addictive potentials, they underestimated our need for a crutch and our brain’s plasticity towards bad habits. You can develop a psychological dependency on it, like needing to cum before going to bed, which is probably why you have trouble sleeping in the first place. Adrafinil has more pronounced side effects because it has to be broken down first. They all share the same side effects of nausea, headache, dizziness, anxiety, and trouble sleeping. The last one can be mitigated by only taking it prior to midday. These drugs also reduce the effectiveness of the pill, so you should use another form of contraception when on it. Drinking on it is fun, the focus carries over and you’ll throw alcohol at yourself with as much determination as a frat boy.

There has yet to be a case of a fatal overdose with modafinil on its own. In Israel, a 15-year-old girl took 5000mg of it and only suffered great discomfort with no signs of long term effects. I’ve had my ex steal a few grams from me and she just had a night terror that night. Actually her sleep schedule was so fucked, it was hard to tell whether it did anything for her at all. Studies indicate it likely has a better safety profile than caffeine which she ingested via 2 Starbucks Pike Roasts with 4 espresso shots a day. Any additional upper? Synergy. It will boost the effects of modafinil to the point of discomfort. I know that it makes coffee for me hell, but I’m very sensitive to caffeine.

But hey, no more nodding off at the Keurig for your morning fix. No more snapping at the kid at Starbucks. You’ll be Queen of the Office and Queen of the Night. You’ll have business and pleasure. Get home at 5am, go to bed at 5:30, wake up at 8, be in the office by 9, no time for breakfast, small salad at 2, desk dinner at 8, bars by 9, home by 5 and start it all over again. When the week opens up, you can sleep, you can rest easy knowing how much you’ve accomplished. You can keep doing it, day in and day out, but there is one final side effect that’s only noticeable when you run out: You’re back to normal. Rent’s due next week.

Have fun; try not to die.