This Is What Happens To Your Brain When You Work Too Hard

It’s not uncommon to feel absolutely wiped after a day of intense thinking, whether that’s planning, organising or doing some other mental task that requires a lot of concentration and effort – and it turns out there’s a very real reason for that.

Researchers wanted to know what mental fatigue really is after wondering why machines can compute continuously, but the brain can’t. They found that when intense cognitive work is prolonged for several hours, it causes toxic byproducts to build up in a part of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex.

This, in turn, alters your control over decisions. Basically your brain takes over and anything else requiring a lot of effort is shunned in favour of what researchers call “low-cost actions” – basically actions that require little or no effort.

In short, our brains say: “Nope, that’s it. I’m done for the day.”

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