Sep 16, 2022 – You’ve been doing very focused work all day. You are now mentally fried. erased. weight. But you are trying to finish a project. Do you have to force through?
The new science has the answer: No, you shouldn’t.
in current biology studyFrench researchers found that performing mentally challenging tasks for more than 6 hours leads to an accumulation of brainThe prefrontal cortex is made of glutamate, a molecule involved in learning and memory, and can be toxic at high levels.
“fatigue It may be an adaptation to reduce glutamate buildup,” says study author Antonius Wehler, Ph.D., researcher at the Institut Paris Brain. In other words, that feeling of tiredness may be your brain’s way of telling you to stop so your glutamate levels don’t rise.
The researchers divided 40 people into two groups. One group spent more than 6 hours on mentally draining tasks, while the other group was assigned easier tasks to do.
At the end of the day, the group that had to think seriously showed more signs of fatigue, including decreased pupils’ dilation (which is associated with lower levels of effort, Wheeler explains) and a tendency to prefer faster rewards and lower effort.
For example, they choose to receive a smaller amount of money right away in exchange for a larger amount later. And they were more likely than the other group to choose a lower difficulty level for a 30-minute task, and a lower resistance level for a 30-minute stationary bike ride.
In other words, they made choices that required less self-control and therefore less effort.
“It must have become more expensive for them to implement control,” Wehler says.
Using magnetic resonance spectroscopy, the researchers also monitored the brain chemistry of the people being studied, and detected higher glutamate levels in hardcore thinkers.
“It is important to limit the release of glutamate,” Wehler says, explaining that glutamate is a useful intracellular but potentially excessively toxic resource outside or between cells.
How can you restore brain function?
One takeaway from this research: You are not a machine. You need rest to restore your brain after a mentally tough day.
“Breaks and Sleeps Wehler says. So, make sure that you take 10 to 15 minute breaks throughout the day and get 8 hours of sleep at night.
He suggests that you try to make important decisions when you are resting.
You might consider planning meals ahead of time to avoid eating unhealthy foods after a hard day, or you could try to exercise earlier so you can put in more effort. work out.
However, Wiehler notes that more research is needed to prove that these tips can help.
“We will ask questions: How is it [glutamate level] Restored while sleeping? How much time [sleep] Should you be? How long should the rest periods be? “