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Give Me a Break: The Importance of Taking a Break in your Work Day

Do you need a break? You bet’cha…. keep reading to find out why… Imagine you walk into your office to find a pile of paperwork you know will take you all day to wade through.  Immediately your blood starts pumping and you can feel the tension building.  But, instead of letting it overwhelm you, you decide to take a deep breath and dive right in!

Two hours pass and you are a quarter of the way through all the work you’ve accumulated. Instead of taking a break you decide to power through.


We’ve all been part of a similar scenario, too much work and too little time.  Now let’s consider that you didn’t heed my warning and continued to work anyway.  After another thirty minutes, you find your mind wandering and as much as you try to re-focus on the task at hand you can’t seem to concentrate.  You struggle with this for the next two hours and only get half the amount of work done as you did in your first two hours of work.  Why?

Have you ever heard of the Ultradian Rhythm?  Ultradian Rhythm is a general term for a biological process that is reoccurring inconsistent intervals of time throughout your day.  However, most people will correlate the Ultradian Rhythm to studies that have shown that on average a person’s brain operates in 90 to 120-minute intervals of brain wave frequency cycles.  This is why it is so important to listen to your body and mind even while you are working.  You are more effective if you work in shifts of 90-120 minutes. Taking short breaks to replenish oxygen and glucose levels so that your brain gets the fuel it needs to be more productive.

When you ignore these subtle suggestions your brain is giving, i.e. yawns, lack of concentration, feeling tired or irritable, etc. you run the risk of over-stimulating and overworking your brain. This can lead to stress and anxiety.  So now that we’ve talked about why you should schedule breaks in your day and how they should be scheduled. Let’s discuss what kind of a break you should take to become the most productive.

The most beneficial kind of break you can take is to get up and get your blood pumping. Doing so delivers more oxygen to your brain.  Those yawns you get after a couple hours of being sedentary are a signal that your brain is being deprived of oxygen.  The cure?  Get up and move around and while you’re moving don’t forget to breathe.  Oxygen is one of the six major building blocks of life for a reason.  We need it not only to survive but to make so many of our internal systems operate at peak performance including your brain! If you aren’t an exercise fanatic you can just walk around and take at least ten deep breaths or drink a glass of water.  The important part is to get oxygen flowing to your brain.

The second key to getting your brain back to the productive mode is glucose.  So grab yourself a snack that will help sustain your glucose levels.  Try some nuts, whole grain cereal, or a handful of blueberries. If you are interested in foods that can help boost brain function, check out this list on Health Ambition.

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