A change of pace is as good as a nap for keeping the mind sharp. Overdoing a task could lead to a reduced performance-but a change of pace can restore it.

Example: A group of people was asked to do a challenging mental task in four sessions throughout the day, from 9 am to 7 pm. By day's end their performance had declined by as much as 50%. When allowed to have an hour's nap in the afternoon, their higher performance levels were restored.

Next: Rather than a nap, the subjects were given a different challenging mental task to do at the final session. Their performance on this task was as good as it had been when they performed the original task at the first session in the morning.

Lesson: Give yourself some kind of break during the day.

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