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Daytime Sleepiness Remedy

May 10, 2013 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

The terms “daytime sleepiness” and “mental exhaustion” creep into the lives of many people. In some instances, the cause stems from physical influences such as anemia, inadequate nutrition or sleep and, occasionally, hypothyroidism. Likewise, numerous psychological issues and stressors can drain ones energy. The first step in addressing fatigue of any kind is to try to establish the origin with the assistance of a medical professional. However, if no organic or psychological cause is apparent, natural remedies may help get you “over the hump”.

So, let’s say you find yourself in good general health, but lacking in energy. What do you do? A good foundation is a five pronged approach: 1) Expose yourself to fresh air and sunlight every day, weather permitting; 2) Increase your level of physical activity whether you feel like it or not; 3) Eat meals that are centered around healthy fats and easily digestible protein, while opting for low-glycemic, non-starchy carbohydrates as side dishes – especially during daytime hours; 4) Identify causes of sleep disturbance (lights and sounds, a poor quality mattress, sleep apnea, etc.) and rectify them; 5) Practice a daily form of stress management such as diaphragmatic breathing, meditation or progressive relaxation.

The five steps outlined above will positively affect fatigue and mood related symptoms for the vast majority of those who practice them consistently. If additional support is required, I recommend using peppermint oil aromatherapy. Several studies in animal and human subjects have found that exposure to the scent of pure peppermint reduces the perception of mental fatigue and poor mood states. What’s more, peppermint aromatherapy is inexpensive, safe and very easy to practice. My advice is to seek out an organic source of 100% pure peppermint oil online or at a local health food store. Carry the bottle around in your car, pocket or purse. When you feel lacking in energy or mentally “foggy”, take a whiff from the small (.5 to 1 oz) bottle. Alternately, you can add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to a handkerchief or tissue. Place it in your pocket and use as needed. As a bonus, you might be pleasantly surprised to find improvements in functional memory and nighttime sleep when adding peppermint aromatherapy to your daily routine.

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 - Effect of Inhaled Essential Oils on Mental Exhaustion & Moderate (link)

Study 2 - Can Ambient Scent Enhance the Nightlife Experience? (link)

Study 3 - Sleep Changes Vary by Odor Perception in Young Adults.(link)

Study 4 – Preliminary Investigation of the Effect of Peppermint Oil on an … (link)

Study 5 - Modulation of Cognitive Performance and Mood by Aromas of … (link)

Study 6 - Evaluation of the Effects of Plant-Derived Essential Oils on Central (link)

Study 7 – Ambulation-Promoting Effect of Peppermint Oil and Identification of (link)

Peppermint Oil Inhalation May Reduce Depression & Fatigue

Source: Biol Psychol. 2006 Mar;71(3):341-9. (link)

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Mental Health

4 Comments to “Daytime Sleepiness Remedy”

  1. JD Says:

    How about taking a bite out of a Peppermint Pattie and then sniffing it before consuming?

    I’m going to give this a try(the oil), thanks for the info!

  2. Orna Izakson Says:

    Uncanny timing. I’m just working up a patient to whom this particularly pertains.

    Thanks, JP!

  3. JP Says:

    JD,

    Let me know how both approaches work out. ;-)

    Be well!

    JP

  4. JP Says:

    Orna,

    I hope the peppermint oil helps your patient the way it’s helped several of my clients. I’ve used peppermint oil from time to time myself. In my experience, it’s quite invigorating!

    Be well!

    JP

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