2020-07-09

Low hanging chemical fruits

Here I give pointers to four cheap chemical aids that you may not be using: caffeine, creatine, melatonin, and zinc acetate.

Please take this post with a massive pinch of salt and do your own reading before diving in. Everything here is an (admittedly) rushed synthesis of recommendations and research elsewhere. To the best of my knowledge, these suggestions are all safe and have helped me or someone I know.

Caffeine


Caffeine is a stimulant and the world’s most commonly consumed psychoactive substance. I often use caffeine if I’m feeling tired in the morning of the afternoon.

Tablets containing 200mg caffeine can be bought for ~2p each, equivalent in caffeine content to 2 shots of espresso (I break them in half).

Caffeine is addictive, so I recommend not consuming caffeine on consecutive days. Caffeine can disrupt your sleep, so I recommend not consuming caffeine in the evening.

Gwern has a great summary of the research on caffeine.

Creatine


Creatine is a chemical found predominately in the muscles. Creatine improves muscle growth and may improve cognition. Creatine powder is available for ~5p per serving.


Melatonin


Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland. Taking a melatonin supplement (<5p each) reduces the time it takes to fall asleep and increases total sleep duration.

Again, Gwern has an excellent summary of the research on melatonin.


Zinc acetate

5 Tristan Cook: Low hanging chemical fruits Here I give pointers to four cheap chemical aids that you may not be using: caffeine, creatine, melatonin, and zinc acetate. Please take thi...
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