By Noah Kaufman
Updated September 21, 2015
Credit: © Hoxton / Alamy Stock Photo

To all our old bosses who insisted we were lazy for taking an 11:30 coffee break before our 12:30 lunch, it looks like you’ve got some explaining to do. According to new research out of Baylor University, coffee breaks taken mid-morning are far more effective and leave people feeling far more refreshed and energized than breaks taken later in the day. Researchers followed 95 employees for a week as the workers tracked their physical and mental states as well as what sorts of breaks they were taking.

Interestingly, breaking earlier is only one factor that can positively impact work throughout the day. Another has to do with how you spend your break. The study found that workers didn’t actually have to engage in non-work activities during their breaks to make the most of them. As long as employees were doing something they enjoyed and elected to do themselves, they would come back feeling rejuvenated and reporting fewer issues like eyestrain or back pain. That means that if you’re really pumped about that PowerPoint presentation you have due next week, your break time might be better spent working on that rather than killing time on the Oregon Trail emulator you secretly got the IT guy to put on your computer.

The most important thing, though, is that we all actually take a break during the day. Especially for those of us who sit in front of computers, because, as earlier research found, an unpleasant side effect of too much sitting and staring seems to be death. And now we’ve got to go. Lunch has been over for half an hour, so we better get on to that next healthy break. Who’s up for some French press?