Attention Groggy Commuter: Aromatherapy Can Help

Why risk your life by falling asleep at the wheel when a bit of aroma-therapeutic planning can keep you awake and alert? There's really no good reason.

Aromatherapy is an easily transportable modality, moving from the kitchen (add a citrus essential oil into a water-filled spray bottle and you've got an instant all-natural counter cleanser) to the bedroom (a few drops of lavender essential oil helps restless sleepers);to the car. If dozing while driving is your problem, peppermint and cinnamon can give you a jolt.

The results of a recent study — Effects Of Odor Administration On Driving Performance, Safety, Alertness, And Fatigue — show that the two scents effectively fight sleepiness.

“Peppermint stimulates the area of the brain responsible for alertness,” says lead researcher Bryan Raudenbush, Ph.D. “And cinnamon increases blood flow to the muscles and brain; with increased blood flow comes increased arousal and attention.”

If you're awake, but feeling generally spacey and without focus, rosemary may bring some clarity. Orange is associated with calming anxiety and fear, rose can help the symptoms of motion sickness and jasmine may sooth the road rage beast. All of these scents can be transmitted with an auto diffuser — just place a few drops into the device before heading off each morning.

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