Hereâ€™s something to take to your boss to convince him/her that a coffee break will improve your performance. According to a published study in Neuron, â€œA coffee break after an important meeting or class may be just the thing your brain needs to digest new information and improve memory.â€ (Note: a coffee break does not necessarily mean you have to have coffee, although there have been studies to indicate coffee is good brain food.)
Researchers at New York Universityâ€™s Center for Neural Science have found that, â€œTaking a coffee break after class can actually help you retain that information you just learned,â€ Lila Davachi, PhD, assistant professor of psychology, researchers on the study said in a news release. â€œYour brain wants you to tune out other tasks so you can tune in to what you just learned.â€
The neuroscientists found that two important brain areas involved in memory and processing of information, the neocortex and the hippocampus, go into a â€œwakeful restâ€ state when breaks are taken after a learning task. This increase in activity seems to improve memory.
Taking a break in the middle of the day causes your brain to react similar to it does during sleep, moving memory along to long-term memory or discarding it. A break in the middle of the day allows your brain to perform to it full potential. â€œYour brain is working for you when you’re resting, so rest is important for memory and cognitive function,â€ Davachi says. â€œThis is something we don’t appreciate much, especially when today’s information technologies keep us working around the clock.â€
In their experiment, sixteen adults were shown pairs of images followed by breaks. They were not told they were to be tested later, but were told to relax and thing about whatever they wished during their rest period. Researchers measured their brain activity before, during and after the rests by using a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine (fMRI).
A burst of brain activity between the neocortex and the hippocampus took place while they viewed the images, as well as during the rest period. Another portion of the test showed those who did not have a rest period following the viewing of images did not perform as well on memory tests. This would indicate that â€œwakeful restâ€ periods, such as those used for a coffee break or meditation, can improve memory and cognitive performance.
So, if you need ammunition to give to your boss that taking a break from your work for a short time will benefit the company, show his this report.
About the author:
Ron White is a two-time U.S.A. Memory Champion and memory training expert. As a memory speaker he travels the world to speak before large groups or small company seminars, demonstrating his memory skills and teaching others how to improve their memory, and how important a good memory is in all phases of your life.
WebMD â€“ Coffee Break Boosts Memory: http://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20100127/coffee-break-boosts-memory