A 40-hour work week may sound like a vacation to those burning the midnight oil. But a study in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine shows that consistently surpassing this standard can be detrimental to your health.
Researchers said they found that working 61 to 70 hours a week increased the risk of coronary heart disease by 42 percent, and working 71 to 80 hours increased it by 63 percent. Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, with more than half a million deaths each year in the United States alone, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Another study, published in The Lancet, found that employees who work long hours have a higher risk of stroke than those working standard hours.
Even more shocking is that putting in these extra hours may not even lead to increased productivity because long work spans can actually decrease your efficiency. Germany boasts the largest economy in Europe, yet the average worker there only spends 35.6 hours a week on the job.
Working less may not seem like an option at first, but here’s how to make it a reality.
First, get more sleep at night. This will give you the energy to be more productive during the day and get out of the office sooner. Create an organized list of tasks each day. Check off each item when completed to give yourself the motivation to get through your day more efficiently.
Working fewer hours will give you more free time in the short term and could decrease your risk of heart disease to give you a higher quality of life in the long term, according to the researchers.
The American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal has 10 tips for becoming more productive at work.