Putting in long hours at the office may help achieve satisfaction at your job, but a new body of evidence indicates that working 10 or 11 hours a day substantially increases the risk of serious heart problems, than those clocking out after seven hours.
The finding, which was published in the European Heart Journal, found that individuals who regularly work beyond “the normal, seven-hour day” were up 60 percent more likely to suffer from heart-related conditions compared with those who didn’t work that amount of overtime — even after factors such as age, weight and smoking that affect the heart were ruled out.
According to the data from a long-term investigation into the health of more than 10,000 London office workers aged between 39 and 61 over 11 years, the possibility of overworking affecting the heart occurs after working between three and four hours extra a day. The researchers said there could be a number of explanations for the possible link between overtime and heart problems. These include undiagnosed high blood pressure, stress, sleep deprivation, anxiety or depression, and being a “Type A” personality who is highly driven, aggressive or irritable. Employees who work overtime may also be likely to work while ill.
It is possible to be successful at work and not become blighted by long, stressful hours. The key is to work smarter, not longer.
Here are a few tips to help slow down your inner workaholic:
• Require downtime. One of the theories as to why overtime work can increase one’s risk of coronary heart disease presented by this study’s authors was that people don’t get adequate downtime after work when they’re working 12-hour days, which inhibits their ability to de-stress and get over workplace anxiety. Schedule short breaks throughout the day and allow some time to relax after returning home.
•Take care of yourself. It is impossible to have a productive day if you feel sick, tired or depressed. That’s because all of the facets of a healthy person — a healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep, exercising, keeping stress to a minimum — apply also to a productive person. When you feel good you will have the energy, mental capacity and desire to work efficiently.