A recent study found people who take midmorning breaks feel more energetic and are more productive than workers who wait until later in the day.

People sitting around table drinking coffee (Wavebreakmedia Ltd, ThinkStock)

Researchers at Baylor University found those who took mid-morning breaks also had fewer headaches, less eyestrain and lower back pain and felt happier.

Michele Siekerka, president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association said most people start their workday earlier than people did years ago, and they frequently may have been working on something the previous evening, so taking a midmorning break makes a lot of sense.

“It actually gives people a chance to take a breath after what was probably a very busy morning trying to get themselves ramped up to get going,” Siekerka said. “Anytime someone can take a few minutes to refresh and refuel they come back feeling better and more focused.”

The study also finds people who do something they enjoy during their break, even if it’s only for a few minutes, tend to stay sharper once they get back to work.

“We all burn out, and at a point in time when we feel we need to refresh,” she says, “we just need to step away and refresh, and chances are we’ll come back much more focused and we’ll do a better job.”

The study also found that workers who take shorter, more frequent breaks during the say tend to be more productive, but Siekerka believes it depends on the specific situation.

“There may be some people who are so passionate about their work that they have a difficult time removing themselves from it, and candidly, they’re energized while they’re doing their work,” Siekerka said, “For most of us, when you are churning away on a project you need to step away and refresh so you can come back focused and give that project a new fresh look, and oftentimes the project turns out better.”

The researchers surveyed 95 employees over a five-day workweek, with each person asked to document every break they took during that time period. In total, researchers looked at nearly 1,000 breaks.