Taking a micro-break during work could help reduce tiredness


Taking micro-breaks of less than 10 minutes throughout the day might help to reduce your fatigue. — dpa

Taking short breaks of a few seconds or minutes throughout your day will give you more energy and improve your well-being, according to new research on the benefits of these so-called micro-breaks.

A micro-break means anything from a few seconds to up to 10 minutes, and can reduce your fatigue and boost your energy levels, says Patricia Albulescu and her team from the Western University of Timisoara in Romania.

People tend to feel more energetic and less tired after taking micro-breaks, they say in their research published in the scientific journal PLOS One.

It was not clear whether people are also more productive after taking a break, but the scientists did find performance did not deteriorate at least.

”Micro-breaks do not actually enable people to recover, but they prevent overtiredness,” says psychologist Dr Friedhelm Nachreiner, who chairs a work and psychological research foundation, but was not involved in the study.

Given that, don’t take your micro-break too late, he says.

He was critical of the latest study, however, saying the team should have evaluated more research and standard literature on the topic.

He was also critical of the fact that the participants had self- assessed their energy levels and fatigue.

And he said no clear distinction was made between fatigue and perceived fatigue.

Ideally, alongside energy and fatigue, other states of mind need to be assessed too, such as anxiety or tension, say the study authors in a call for future research on the issue.

They were also unable to say when and for how long a micro-break would optimally have to take place.

That is a question each individual has to decide for themselves, says Dr Nachreiner.

Some can wait a while before they need a break, while others need to stop sooner and for longer, he says.

“Saying everyone needs five minutes would be nonsense, for example.”

There is a cultural element too, according to the study authors.

Many employees still feel that breaks might be perceived as ”counter-productive behaviour”.

Given their benefits though, they say managers should actively encourage staff to take micro-breaks in the future.

Even at university, short breaks can help students recharge their batteries, whether at a lecture or using computers, they said. – dpa

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Mental health , work


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