Is Phenibut Safe To Use For Improving Long-Term Sleep Habits?

What Is Phenibut?

Phenibut (Beta-Phenyl-Gamma-Aminobutyric acid, β-Phenyl-GABA), a substance produced in the Soviet Union in the 1960s, is a powerful anxiolytic with mild sedative effects, as well as a nootropic (“cognitive enhancer”). Pharmacologically, it affects GABA receptors in a much more selective manner than benzodiazepines (a prescription issued class of anxiolytics, sedatives, and hypnotics). However, is Phenibut safe for long-term use as a sleep aid? This article will delve into research on the drug to best inform you of the pros and cons of using Phenibut in this manner.

Chemically, it is a GABA analog that easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and provides a variety of effects on the user. GABA functions on the potassium channels in neurons. This balances the brain in such a way that it decreases the ability for other neurotransmitters to be released and thus reduces overall activity in the neuron, especially excitatory functions. Phenibut is a crystalline substance in its pure form, with a very sour taste. Its acts on the brain are very selective, targeting only specific GABA receptors (which regulate the calmness of the mind and of the body), which accounts for its anxiolytic and nootropic qualities without sedation, memory problems, drowsiness, an unsteady gait that can be seen in benzodiazepines.

For decades, Phenibut was and is part of the substance supplements for Soviet and later Russian cosmonauts, because of its anxiolytic action which relieves stress very strongly, but without poor judgments, muscle weakness, unsteady gait, slurry speech or sedation. Given the complexity of cosmonauts’ risky and stressful working, it is routinely available to them within the context of Russian space exploration.  Today, it is used as a popular prescription drug in Russia for neurasthenia, anxiety disorders, as well for neurosis and became a subject of many biomedical studies worldwide which confirmed its strong anxiolytic and mind enchasing properties.


Phenibut’s selective action on the GABA receptor units, of which facilitates the anxiolytic effect, is beneficial for people with general or social anxiety. Phenibut, by reducing stress and providing action against neurotoxic substances, does so in a calming, non-addictive manner. Through dopaminergic function, it secures clearer focus, partly by inhibition of stimuli that are not relevant to learning, study, preparation for exams as well as any intellectual effort. Unlike widely used benzodiazepines, occasional appearances of inappropriate disinhibition, acute paradoxical psychosis and acting impulsively are unknown, even with chronic use of the upper recommended dosage.

The nootropic effect is achieved through the effect on synapses in the brain, which provides better unity of the hemispheres of the brain which are anatomical parts for different voluntary actions, memory storage as well as memory-recall. It is especially suitable for boosting of spatial memory (visualizations) and larger mental energy in strenuous condition. Phenibut improves executive functions related to concentration and attention. This set of nootropic action parallel with anxiety elimination strongly boosts mental performance and eliminate apathy and procrastination in healthy individuals.

Unlike prescription hypnotics like Flurazepam or Nitrazepam, Phenibut doesn’t interfere with the architecture of the sleep (especially with the so-called “Rapid Eye Movement phase (REM)” and is, therefore, a much superior sleep-aid providing rest which is not characterized by next day sedation and drowsiness. Phenibut causes neither euphoria nor dysphoria (negative mood).

Phenibut is occasionally stacked with caffeine as well as racetam-class nootropics, however medical research on the eventual increase of the nootropic effects for these combinations is lacking. It is also of certain use to reduce the ‘restless legs syndrome”, which greatly improves the quality of sleep. Overall, safety concerns of how this affects the mind are far outweighed by the positive benefits of Phenibut.

Recommended Dosage

The usual dosages of Phenibut (mostly available commercially as Phenibut HCL) which facilitate anxiolytic and nootropic effects are ranging from 250mg to 1,500mg. Given its relatively long half-life (the period in which the concentration of the substance from the intake is reduced by a factor of 2), one initial dosage in the morning, eventually with some extra dosing as needed is preferred of its use. Within this range, the nootropic and anxiety-reducing effects are felt in an optimal fashion. Use of much greater dosages may cause some mild sedation, including slightly prolonged sleep time. Its intake is not recommended during pregnancy and lactation. At the given dosage, Phenibut is, in fact, safe to take for both short and long-term use. Do note however that in excessive doses higher than the ones indicated, if taken for a long period of time, Phenibut will cause a mild withdrawal syndrome.

Side Effects

Phenibut has a rather broad range of side-effects, most of them quite benign, with some occurring only for several days of the starting of a regimen. These appear mostly in withdrawal: dizziness, insomnia, rebound anxiety, gastrointestinal problems, and vomiting, – effects that may last a period to 10 days. Sedative drugs and alcohol, as well as MAO inhibitors and anticonvulsants (Tegretol, Carbamazepine, Valproate etc.), should never be used in conjunction with Phenibut. Minor tolerance occurs after several weeks, sometimes months in users that consume it on a daily basis. It should not be used by people with chronic clinical depression. The slow, but steady introduction of the recommended dosage is the best strategy to cope with some of Phenibut’s infrequent side effects. It should not be under no circumstances discontinued rapidly, but by a planned reduction of the dosage for at least 2 weeks.

Is Phenibut Legal?

Regardless of incorporation of Phenibut in national medicine of Russia and few other countries as a medical drug, such designation is currently not supported by the chief U.S. body for evaluation and control of quality of foods, medications, and supplements for human consumption, namely the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but it is also not banned.

In effect, it means freedom of purchase, possession as well as consumption for personal use in the United States. However, in a number of countries, it is usually a prescription drug that may be issued by pharmacies on the basis of prescriptions, mostly by psychiatrists. In the U.S., Phenibut is freely and legally distributed as a supplement by a number of firms without any legal obstruction whatsoever. Overseas, however, in countries such as India and in the UK, Phenibut is stricter within the confines of the law and may be more difficult for one to possess.

Final Thoughts

Phenibut unlocks greater potentials of mental power with a number of indirect and direct activities of the higher mind. If the goal of the potential user is calmness, ‘coolness’ which is not accompanied by mental fog, amnesia, muscular ataxia, grogginess and memory deficits, including blackouts as a very prevalent side-effects of prescription tranquilizers, that Phenibut is worth to try, is also supported by voluminous body of scientific data affirming its pronounced increasing of the cognitive process.

Without any “highs” or “downs” as well as with a lack of any aggravations of the health of psychiatric nature or, changed bodily function, Phenibut is well-tested and efficient Every human task that demands improvement of the cognitive abilities in order to be finished successfully and timely is supported by the use of Phenibut.

The pronounced nootropic effect, lack of any serious side-effects if used in a conscientious manner, and benefits on anxiety make Phenibut a reliable and recommended anxiolytic and mind enhancer. Phenibut is an extremely safe nootropic drug and is recommended for any serious nootropic practitioner.

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