Thinking too long and fatigue

Scherder explains that fatigue in certain areas of the brain is nothing new, but that it was not yet known how it came about. Now there is an answer to that. The neuropsychologist explains that new research has shown that if you are cognitively active for a long time, one of the neurotransmitters, the signal substances that transmit impulses, becomes overloaded. This neurotransmitter is glutamate.

Glutamate stimulates the brain. There are also neurotransmitters in the brain that provide inhibition. For a healthy mental state it is important that these substances are in balance. Scherder: “If you think intensively, the balance goes out. The glutamate starts to pile up and dominate.” This means that the frontal networks will do their job less well. The conclusion: you experience mental fatigue.

moments of rest

Scherder indicates that this can be remedied in two ways: sleeping and interrupting intensive thinking in time. “The accumulated waste products must be removed and processed, which happens while sleeping.”

But Scherder also sees the study as a plea to think for ourselves whether we should let our brains go to their maximum every day. The neuropsychologist thinks not. “Make sure you look out the window for twenty minutes a day or go for a walk, that ensures peace.” Scherder argues for more moments of rest throughout the day. “That’s not stealing time from the boss, but being very sensible with your central nervous system.” According to Scherder, it improves productivity and creativity, also in the long term. “In those moments of rest, networks emerge that otherwise don’t get a chance.”


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