ATLANTA — Life can be exhausting, but instead of guzzling caffeine to stay awake, a digital article from Fatherly says try chewing a piece of gum.
Just how accurate is that piece of advice? We look into the science to verify.
Can chewing gum increase alertness?
- Dr. Ebony Glover, Associate Professor of Neuroscience at Kennesaw State University
- Several published studies on the issue:
Yes, chewing gum can increase alertness.
WHAT WE FOUND
“The science says overwhelmingly yes when it comes to the research,” Dr. Ebony Glover said. “There’s been research going on for at least the past 80 years. It’s very extensively studied.”
Many studies show chewing gum boosts more than your attention.
There’s evidence it can improve concentration, reduce stress, and have a positive effect on your mood.
Dr. Glover says the key is in the chewing motion itself.
“The physical mastication effect has been shown to actually increase arousal in the body and in the brain . . . [areas that] sort of help boost attention, vigilance, and your ability to focus,” Dr. Glover said.
It’s not a miracle worker. Dr. Glover says the science has its limitations and works better in the short term.
“There’s a ton of data showing that chewing gum is beneficial to these things, but there’s also a lot of conflicting findings showing no effect,” Dr. Glover said.
But, if you need a quick, low-cost boost to your day, Dr. Glover says, hey, it’s worth a try!
“Anecdotally, people really love it. Anecdotally, most people chew gum, especially in stressful situations, so I think it’s worth it,” Dr. Glover said.