Citicoline is among the most widely used nootropics in the world today.
Not only is Citicoline a main ingredient in most of the best nootropics on the market today, but it is a highly effective brain supplement when used in isolation. Clinicians routinely use Citicoline for slowing cognitive decline, while some have found it effective for helping with recovery from traumatic brain injury.
One of the main benefits of Citicoline is its effects on brain energy. Using Citicoline is known to dramatically increase mental energy, which in turn helps people stay focused and alert for longer.
This has led to many supplement manufacturers marketing Citicoline as an energy supplement, which has in turn led to many people wondering if Citicoline helps keep you awake.
It might sound like an odd question, but we have had several people comment on our Citicoline guide asking whether Citicoline will keep them awake at night if they use it before bed.
So, does Citicoline stop you going to sleep?
To answer that question, we first need to take a look at what Citicoline is, what it does, and how it works.
What is Citicoline?
Citicoline is a compound of choline and cytidine; two substances that are hugely important for overall health and performance, particularly brain health and performance.
Citicoline is a naturally occurring substance. It is found in the organs of all animals, particularly in the brain where it is referred to as CDP-Choline (Citicoline is the same compound, we just differentiate when it is inside and outside the body).
Citicoline is an intermediary in the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine and acetylcholine from choline.
What does Citicoline do?
Supplementing with Citicoline has been found to significantly increase levels of acetylcholine and phosphatidylcholine in the brain. We refer to compounds which can raise choline-based compounds in the brain “cholinergics”.
Increasing acetylcholine and phosphatidylcholine in the brain has major effects on cognitive performance.
Acetylcholine is the brain’s main neurotransmitter, responsible for carrying out all executive cognitive functions (e.g. speech, working memory, information processing, muscle movement, etc).
Phosphatidylcholine, on the other hand, is a primary structural component of brain cell membranes. More phosphatidylcholine means better brain cell health and functionality over the long-term.
Citicoline supplementation has also been shown to drastically increase mental energy. Studies show that Citicoline consumption leads to increases in brain cell mitochondria efficiency; one trial found as much as a 14% increase in brain cell ATP levels; as ATP is the energy currency of your cells, this means much more energy.
Does Citicoline keep you awake?
Citicoline is not a stimulant. It does not increase central nervous system activity. It does not excite your nervous system in any way, nor does it reduce physical fatigue.
Citicoline doesn’t work like caffeine either; it has no effect on adenosine receptors, so it does not interfere with your sleep cycle at all.
So in short, no, Citicoline does not and cannot keep you awake. It has no effect on your sleeping cycle, and it canot prevent you from getting drowsy.
The reason people think Citicoline can keep you awake is the fact that it increases menal energy. However, it does so by making your cell mitochondria more efficient at releasing energy from food, not by artificially raising energy or keeping you awake like a stimulant.