I'm a big believer in the idea of mental atrophy. Just like most any other part of your body - its a use it or lose it proposition.
Don Knuth is exceedingly well-known in the computer science world. I'd say he's a luminary or a leading-mind or something like that, but I really wouldn't be able to do it justice. Let's just say he's a really (really) smart guy. He's also a retired computer science professor from Standford and happily, I see him bouncing around Google from time to time.
Of particular practical application is that on reading his home page a few years back, I noted that he said he started his day with an hour in the pool and 2 more in the library. This made all kind of sense to me. Physical exercise the moment I wake-up works really well. Mostly because I'm usually a bit too groggy to get much done mentally, and by the time I'm done working out I'm finally awake enough that I hardly remember doing it.
Two more hours in the library thereafter also makes perfect sense. Now I'm awake and I can personally attest I'm sharper at this time of day more than any other (when I was writing my book, I'd write in the morning and do code examples later in the evening. Presumably, because pretty prose was harder than pretty code :)
Anyway, I've always struggled to try to do Knuth's schedule. But given I'm not a professor (or a retired professor), there simply was never enough time - at least during the week. I have however started this regimen on weekends.
When I wake up (no particular requirement at what time) - I go for a few mile run (not much of a swimmer like Don, nor do I have easy access to a pool) and then read for an hour or 2 (note: for me, its key to do this *away* from internet access). I need to find a close-by library but so far my own pile of need-to-be-read books has a ways to go.
Officially, I'm doing "Knuth Weekends".