[ELI5] Why can’t we concentrate nonstop? Why do we need breaks?

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EDIT: I mean productive work such as learning.

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You’d be amazed how long people can concentrate when the environment is designed to be stimulating. People can play video games, stare at a phone, watch TV, or look at slot machines for periods of time that are basically just constrained by sleep, assuming they are extremely stimulated by them. The problem is that extremely stimulating tasks are generally not very productive, they’re usually entertainment.

Your brain still requires energy, caloric energy, in order to run. Think of it like an engine. Without some kind of fuel, it’ll end up sputtering and quitting.

For the same reason you can’t run forever.

Thinking is energy intensive, we dedicate a large amount of calories to our brain and focusing, concentrating and thinking increases that energy burn.

Eventually you tire out and require rest and to restore your energy reserves.

I think the old saying applys here (to much of a good thing os a bad thing) like if u stay focused in on one thing for to long ur brain probably forces u to break concentration so u can observe ur surroundings. Its more than likely a survival mechanism. If your in the forest by a river trying to catch fish its probably not a good idea to stay focused on the task at hand u might want to keep looking around for tigers and bears and wolves and alligators and all kinds of shit ancient man had to deal with during our evolution