HomeScience & TechHow deep and long thinking makes the brain tired: What scientists through...

How deep and long thinking makes the brain tired: What scientists through on this?

You have been doing deep focused work all day. Now you’re mentally screwed. Deleted. Exhausted. But you are trying to finish the project. Should you link up? French scientists have found that performing mentally demanding tasks for more than 6 hours leads to a build-up of glutamate in the brain’s prefrontal cortex, a molecule involved in learning and memory that can be toxic at high levels.

Author Antonius Wiehler, PhD, a researcher at the Paris Brain Institut says “Fatigue may be an adaptation to reduce glutamate accumulation,that tired feeling 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 exhausting tasks, while the other was given easier tasks. At the end of the day, the group that had to think hard showed more signs of fatigue, including reduced pupil dilation (related to lower effort levels, Wiehler explains) and a tendency to favor quick rewards and less effort.

Daytime sleep?

Napping isn’t just for babies. Studies show that afternoon naps are great for adults, too. There’s no need to feel lazy to take a nap. A short mid-afternoon nap can improve memory, improve work performance, lift mood, increase focus, and reduce stress. Cozy up to these nap benefits.

It can improve your memory

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Studies have shown that sleep plays an important role in storing memories. A nap can help you remember things you learned earlier in the day, as can a full night’s sleep. Naps work by preventing you from forgetting things like motor skills, sensory perception, and verbal recall.

You may be able to connect the dots more easily

Not only can a nap help you remember the things you’ve just learned, it could help your brain make connections between the things you find out. In one study, they found that it was easier to put together information that they had acquired earlier in the day.

It can help you climb the corporate ladder

When you do a task over and over again throughout the day, your performance deteriorates throughout the day. Studies show that taking a nap can help you stay consistent.

It can lift your spirits

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If you’re feeling down, try taking a nap to lift your spirits. A nap, or even just an hour’s rest without falling asleep, can brighten your outlook. Experts say that the relaxation that comes from lying down and resting improves your mood, whether you fall asleep or not.

Do you need to be more alert? Nap

If you start to feel a little sleepy right after lunch, you’re not alone. The struggle after lunch is real. A 20-minute nap can help you fight heavy eyelids.

A little nap brings big benefits

Naps of less than 10 minutes can be beneficial, but nap for 30 minutes or less to avoid waking up more tired. This sluggishness you may feel after taking a nap is called sleep inertia. The longer you sleep, the more likely you are to have this feeling. The worse it is, the more time you will need to wake up and transition back to work.

A nap is better than caffeine

If you’re feeling tired but have work or studying ahead of you, a nap might be better than sipping coffee. Compared to caffeine, napping can improve memory and learning.

A long night ahead? A nap can help

If you know you won’t get much sleep for a night or two (due to travel, for example), it’s better to prepare in advance by taking a nap rather than fueling yourself with caffeine. The longer the sleep, the better. If you must resort to caffeine, drinking small amounts often is better than one large cup of joe.

They can relieve stress

If you’re under a lot of stress, a nap can relieve stress and improve your immune health. Experts believe that a 30-minute nap can be enough.

They are good for your heart

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A nap may even help. A study found that people who napped for 45 to 60 minutes had lower blood pressure after psychological stress. So taking a nap can help your body recover from stressful situations.

They can make you more creative

Do you ever wake up with a great idea? REM sleep, which usually begins 70 to 90 minutes after you fall asleep, activates the parts of your brain associated with imagining and dreaming. A nap with REM sleep can help you combine ideas in new ways to come up with answers.

Taking a nap will help you sleep better at night

Although it may seem counterintuitive, napping during the day can help older adults sleep better at night. Studies show a 30-minute nap between 1 p.m. and 15 hours combined with moderate exercise such as walking and stretching in the evening helps improve a night’s sleep. Mental and physical health can also improve.

They can help even your little ones

Many preschoolers stop sleeping long before they start kindergarten. The fact is that sleep is critical for learning and development at this age. Children who take regular naps remember things they have learned better. Since short-term memory reserves are limited at this age, younger children need more frequent sleep. It’s an important part of how the brain hangs on to memories.

Make them a habit

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While naps can benefit everyone, there is some evidence that naps only improve certain types of learning when taken regularly. This includes the ability to tell the difference between similar things, such as images or textures.

When should you take a nap?

To get the most benefits from your sleep, you need to time it correctly. Most people find waking up in the afternoon the most natural and useful. Some say that sleep is better between 2 and 3 p.m., when people naturally fall into wakefulness. The time that works best for you will depend on how rested you are to begin with. If you are well rested, it is better to take a nap a little later. If you’re behind on your sleep, you’ll want to nap earlier.

For example, they choose to receive a smaller amount of money now versus a larger amount later. And they chose a lower difficulty level for the 30-minute task and a lower resistance level for the 30-minute stationary bike ride more often than the other group.

In other words, they made decisions that required less self-control and therefore less effort. “It must have been more costly for them to exercise control,” says Wiehler.

Using magnetic resonance spectroscopy, the researchers also monitored the brain chemistry of the people they studied and noted higher levels of glutamate in the tough thinkers.

“It’s important to limit the release of glutamate,” Wiehler says, explaining that this is because glutamate is a useful resource inside cells, but potentially toxic in excess outside or between cells.

How can you restore brain function?

One takeaway from this research: You are not a machine. After a mentally demanding day, you need rest to reset your brain. “Breaks and sleep are important,” says Wiehler.

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