Friday, August 18, 2023

The Benefits of Chewing Gum while Studying

Reading time 1 minute

Decades ago when I was tutoring students I always recommended that my students chew gum. It stopped them from yawning as it kept them more alert with the secondary benefit of curing any breath problems they may have had :-) In addition to these benefits, research shows that there are multiple benefits that aid study.

Researchers at Swinburne University have examined the effect that chewing gum has on stress relief and focus and concentration. In the 40-person study of gum chewers (average age 22) the participants engaged in a multitasking task that induced stress while chewing and not chewing gum. Anxiety, alertness and stress levels were measured before and after the task, as well as measuring task performance.

It was shown that chewing

  • Relieved Anxiety: Gum chewers showed a reduction in anxiety as compared to non-gum chewers by nearly 17 percent during mild stress and nearly 10 percent in moderate stress.

  • Increased Alertness: Gum chewers showed improvement in alertness over non-gum chewers by nearly 19 percent during mild stress and 8 percent in moderate stress.

  • Reduced Stress: Levels of salivary cortisol (a physiological stress marker) in gum chewers were lower than those of non-gum chewers by 16 percent during mild stress and nearly 12 percent in moderate stress.

  • Improved Performance: Both gum-chewers and non-chewers showed improvement from their baseline scores; however, chewing gum improved mean performance scores over non-gum chewers by 67 percent during moderate stress and 109 percent in mild stress. 

Reported in New Scientist a similar study conducted in Cambridge found increased activity in the hippocampus, the area of the brain important in memory. They found that people who chewed throughout the tests performed significantly better in a measure of both long-term and short-term memory.

Additionally peppermint has been found to enhance memory.

So chewing peppermint gum enhances alertness, memory and task performance while reducing stress making the activity the ultimate study companion. Win, win, win!

No comments:

Post a Comment