This piece originally appeared on Uncubed.com.
Last month, the CEO of smart drug startup Nootrobox revealed the company’s strange method for staying productive – they fast for up to 36 hours every week.
Every Monday night, Nootrobox employees wave good-bye to food, only breaking fast at a communal breakfast on Wednesday mornings. “We’re actually super productive on Tuesdays,” cofounder Geoffrey Woo told The Mercury News. “It’s hard at first, but we literally adopted it as part of the company culture.”
It’s a practice known as intermittent fasting. Alongside a bevy of potential health benefits, some studies have revealed that starving yourself can actually bolster your brain activity.
In this TEDx talk from Mark Mattson, a professor of neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University, he explains, “Challenges to your brain – whether it’s intermittent fasting, vigorous exercise or what we’re doing now – are cognitive challenges. When this happens neural circuits are activated, levels of neurotrophic factors such as BDNF increase, that promotes the growth of the neurons, the formation and strengthening of synapses.”
For more on company culture, watch this Fortune video:
If you’re interested in learning more about intermittent fasting, check out this beginner’s guide from writer James Clear.
And for a dissenting account, check out David Rakoff’s incredibly funny account of his remarkably unproductive fasting experience on This American Life.