If you had a really late night celebrating Valentine’s Day and you can hardly keep your eyes open today, we feel you. But instead of reaching for that fourth cup of coffee, we’ve got an energy-boosting alternative for you to try: chewing peppermint gum.
The trick comes from “5-Minute Energy,” a book by Isadora Baum that offers suggestions of more than 200 activities to help put some pep in your step. And one of them is chewing gum. Sounds strange, but science backs it up. A study at Coventry University in the U.K. finds that chewing gum stimulates the autonomic nervous system and that boosts alertness. Chewing increases blood flow to the brain as well and that can help wake you up, too.
But if you’re reaching for a pack of gum at the store, put down the Juicy Fruit and stick to peppermint. It turns out it’s especially effective because the scent of peppermint can “uplift mood and energy as well as bring a sense of mental clarity and focus,” according to Baum’s book. So next time the afternoon slump hits, try this pick-me-up and freshen your breath at the same time.