Browse a list of studies related to taking breaks:

Research Proves Your Brain Needs Breaks


The research showed three main takeaways.

1. Breaks between meetings allow the brain to “reset,” reducing a cumulative buildup of stress across meetings.

Your brain works differently when you take breaks

Taking time out between video calls prevents stress from building up.

2. Back-to-back meetings can decrease your ability to focus and engage.

Taking breaks helps you engage better

Breathers don’t just alleviate stress, they help your performance.

3. Transitioning between meetings can be a source of high stress. Jumping directly from one meeting to another can cause spikes of stress while taking breaks between conversations eases that stress.

Brief diversions vastly improve focus, researchers find

Read more at Science Daily


The study overturns a decades-old theory about the nature of attention and demonstrates that even brief diversions from a task can dramatically improve one's ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods.

“Deactivating and reactivating your goals allows you to stay focused,”

“From a practical standpoint, our research suggests that, when faced with long tasks (such as studying before a final exam or doing your taxes), it is best to impose brief breaks on yourself. Brief mental breaks will actually help you stay focused on your task!”

"Give me a break!" A systematic review and meta-analysis on the efficacy of micro-breaks for increasing well-being and performance

read more at Plos One 


Recovery activities during short breaks taken between work tasks are solutions for preventing the impairing effects of accumulated strain. No wonder then that a growing body of scientific literature from various perspectives emerged on this topic. 

A meta-regression showed that the longer the break, the greater the boost was on performance. Overall, the data support the role of micro-breaks for well-being, while for performance, recovering from highly depleting tasks may need more than 10-minute breaks.

Understanding effort regulation: Comparing 'Pomodoro' breaks and self-regulated breaks

Read more at pubmed


“Students had longer study sessions and breaks when self-regulating. This was associated with higher levels of fatigue and distractedness, and lower levels of concentration and motivation compared to those in the systematic conditions.”


Taking pre-determined, systematic breaks during a study session had mood benefits and appeared to have efficiency benefits (i.e., similar task completion in shorter time) over taking self-regulated breaks.

Research-Tested Benefits of Breaks

Read more at Science Direct

Off-task behavior in elementary school children

Students are easily distracted, but regular, short breaks can help them focus, increase their productivity, and reduce their stress.

Regular breaks throughout the school day—from short brain breaks in the classroom to the longer break of recess—are not simply downtime for students. Such breaks increase their productivity and provide them with opportunities to develop creativity and social skills.

Short breaks at school: 

Read more at Science Direct

Short breaks at school:effects of a physical activity and a mindfulness intervention on children's attention, reading comprehension, and self-esteem


Classroom-based short physical and mindfulness breaks could support attention and reading comprehension, which are known to support overall academic success.

Improving long term driving comfort by taking breaks - How break activity affects effectiveness

Read more at pubmed

During long duration journeys, drivers are encouraged to take regular breaks. The benefits of breaks have been documented for safety; breaks may also be beneficial for comfort. 

The most effective break occurred when the driver walked for 10 min on a treadmill. The benefits from taking a break continued until the end of the study (after a further hour of driving), such that comfort remained the best after taking a walk and worst for those who remained seated. It is concluded that taking a break and taking a walk is an effective method for relieving driving discomfort.

Reach for your cell phone at your own risk: The cognitive costs of media choice for breaks

Read more at akjournals

The results show that using cell phone for a break did not allow brain to recharge as effectively as the other types of breaks, both in terms of being able to perform quickly and efficiently in the second half of the task (how long it took to complete), and in terms of performance (how many anagrams were successfully solved in the second half).

Breaks and productivity: An exploratory analysis

Read more at online


The Fair Labor Standards Act suggests that short rest periods of 5–20 min may improve employee productivity, but there is limited experimental research on the topic. The current study compared productivity when breaks were not required (i.e., control session) compared with when breaks were programmed by the experimenter. The results showed that 75% of participants completed more checks during the experimental session than during the control session and the difference was statistically significant. Most participants took more unprogrammed break time during control sessions compared with experimental sessions.