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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.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

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

9 Comments & Updates 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:


    Let me know how both approaches work out. 😉

    Be well!


  4. JP Says:


    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!


  5. JP Says:

    Update 07/13/15:

    Note: Bergamot oil may also relieve fatigue – by reducing stress …


    Forsch Komplementmed. 2015;22(1):43-9.

    Effects of bergamot ( Citrus bergamia (Risso) Wright & Arn.) essential oil aromatherapy on mood states, parasympathetic nervous system activity, and salivary cortisol levels in 41 healthy females.

    BACKGROUND: Bergamot essential oil (BEO) is commonly used against psychological stress and anxiety in aromatherapy. The primary aim of the present study was to obtain first clinical evidence for these psychological and physiological effects. A secondary aim was to achieve some fundamental understanding of the relevant pharmacological processes.

    METHODS: Endocrinological, physiological, and psychological effects of BEO vapor inhalation on 41 healthy females were tested using a random crossover study design. Volunteers were exposed to 3 experimental setups (rest (R), rest + water vapor (RW), rest + water vapor + bergamot essential oil (RWB)) for 15 min each. Immediately after each setup, saliva samples were collected and the volunteers rested for 10 min. Subsequently, they completed the Profile of Mood States, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and Fatigue Self-Check List. High-frequency (HF) heart rate values, an indicator for parasympathetic nervous system activity, were calculated from heart rate variability values measured both during the 15 min of the experiment and during the subsequent 10 min of rest. Salivary cortisol (CS) levels in the saliva samples were analyzed using ELISA.

    RESULTS: CS of all 3 conditions R, RW, and RWB were found to be significantly distinct (p = 0.003). In the subsequent multiple comparison test, the CS value of RWB was significantly lower when compared to the R setup. When comparing the HF values of the RWB setup during the 10 min of rest after the experiment to those of RW, this parameter was significantly increased (p = 0.026) in the RWB setup for which scores for negative emotions and fatigue were also improved.

    CONCLUSION: These results demonstrate that BEO inhaled together with water vapor exerts psychological and physiological effects in a relatively short time.

    Be well!


  6. JP Says:

    Updated 11/11/15:

    Lately, I’ve been experimenting with a bolder, longer lasting application of peppermint oil: I apply a drop or two to the head of a swab (“Q-Tip”) and swirl it around each nostril. You may want to give it try!

    Be well!


  7. JP Says:

    Updated 02/20/16:


    Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2016 Feb 17:1-4.

    A randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study of spirulina supplementation on indices of mental and physical fatigue in men.

    Spirulina may increase people’s ability to resist mental and physical fatigue. This study tested that hypothesis in a randomized, double blinded, placebo controlled study in men. After 1 week, a 3 g/day dose of spirulina produced a small, but statistically significant increase in exercise output (Kcals consumed in 30 min exercise on a cross trainer machine). A mathematical based mental fatigue test showed improved performance 4 h after the first time of supplementation as well as 8 weeks later. Similarly, a subjective survey for a sense of physical and mental fatigue showed improvement within 4 h of the first supplementation as well as 8 weeks later. These results show that spirulina intake can affect fatigue in men.

    Be well!


  8. JP Says:

    Updated 06/06/16:


    Schmerz. 2016 Jun;30(3):295-310.

    [Peppermint oil in the acute treatment of tension-type headache].

    Tension-type headache is the most frequent form of headache. The local topical treatment with peppermint oil (oleum menthae piperitae) has proven to be significantly more effective than placebo in controlled studies. Peppermint oil targets headache pathophysiology in multiple ways. The efficacy is comparable to that of acetylsalicylic acid or paracetamol. Solutions of 10 % peppermint oil in ethanol are licensed for the treatment of tension-type headache in adults and children above 6 years. It is included in treatment recommendations and guidelines by the respective professional societies and is regarded as a standard treatment for the acute therapy of tension-type headaches.

    Be well!


  9. JP Says:

    Updated 10/08/16:


    Nursing. 2016 Jul;46(7):61-7.

    Inhaled peppermint oil for postop nausea in patients undergoing cardiac surgery.

    BACKGROUND: Postoperative nausea is a common occurrence that is very uncomfortable for patients and may result in complications including pain, strain at the surgical site, aspiration, and possible dehiscence. Antiemetics used to manage the nausea cause many adverse reactions, such as dysrhythmias and/or drowsiness resulting in an unwillingness to ambulate or perform deep-breathing exercises.

    LITERATURE REVIEW: Previous studies have reported a decrease in nausea following the use of peppermint oil.

    STUDY METHODOLOGY: Researchers obtained informed consent from 123 patients for this study; 34 (28%) of them experienced nausea and were offered a nasal inhaler that contained peppermint oil.

    RESULTS: The average nausea rating before the use of peppermint oil was 3.29 (SD, 1.0) on a scale of 0 to 5, with 5 being the greatest nausea. Two minutes later, the average nausea rating was 1.44 (SD, 1.3). Using paired t-tests, these differences were found to be statistically significant (P = 0.000).

    DISCUSSION: The researchers concluded that peppermint oil inhalation is a viable first-line treatment for nausea in postoperative cardiac surgery patients.

    Be well!


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