5 Ways Chewing Gum Works Better Than Caffeine to Boost Your Cognitive Work Performance: Work Productivity

Full Disclosure: I collect factoids, and today’s post is a factoid about how chewing gum can help your productivity.

You know chewing gum freshens breath, but did you know chewing gum helps your cognitive (work) performance?

Small Asian girl in ceremonial headdress blowing bubble gum

Chewing gum makes your smarter - almost

Several studies discussed in WiredScience demonstrate positive benefits of chewing gum:

  1. Chewing gum worked better than caffeine.
  2. Randomly assigned gum chewers significantly outperformed the non-gum chewers in 5 out of 6 performance tests (the exception was verbal fluency).
  3. Sugared gum chewers performed no better than the sugar-free gum chewers – therefore a rise in glucose levels was not a factor.
  4. Chewing mint gum decreased sleepiness.
  5. After exposure to stress, gum chewers study subjects had better reaction time.  Athletes may have already glommed onto this benefit.

Chewing gum was effective for a short time – 20 minutes.

The theory is the act of chewing may be mildly stimulating.

One area where gum chewers fared less well was memorizing lists of words. It is thought the rhythm of chewing may have thrown off subjects from the rhythm of the words.

How best to use this short-term caffeine- and calorie-free concentration boost:

  1. After lunch when the urge for a post-prandial nap hits
  2. During the hardest part of a task
  3. At the end of your work day, when you need a short boost of focused thinking, especially if you don’t want to drink caffeine late in the day.

How do you help yourself focus of give yourself a boost to do your best at work? I would love to hear your ideas. Add a comment below.

For less esoteric ways to improve your productivity in your home or corporate office check out The Smarter Home Office: 8 Simple Steps to Increase Your Income, Inspiration and Productivity.

photo by Mooney47