Working long hours when you’re pitching for a new client or on deadline is fine, but if you are burning the midnight oil every day for weeks for months, you may end up with all sorts of health problems. Ideally, you should work 40 to 60 hours a week, beyond this, you may start to see symptoms of overworking
The effects of overworking are:
Disrupts your body clock
Overwork can make it hard to fall asleep or get good quality sleep. This can cause us to build up what’s called “sleep debt,” which is kind of like being overdrawn at a bank. Chronic sleep debt raises the risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Risk of wrecking your diet
When you are stressed and overworked, your willpower and judgement can go out of the window very quickly. Instead of reaching for a healthy fruit, you may grab a bag of chips. This is because when you are overtired, the areas of our brains responsible for ranking different foods based on what we want and need are slowed down and you can also miss the cues from your stomach telling you that you’re full. Over time, poor food choices can lead to weight gain and even obesity.
It’s really bad for your heart
Research shows that workers who worked three or more hours longer than a normal, seven-hour day have a 60% higher risk of heart-related problems than workers who didn’t work overtime. Examples of heart-related problems included death due to heart disease, non-fatal heart attacks, and angina, a condition caused by low blood supply to the heart.
Another study found that people who worked long hours were 40% more likely to suffer from coronary heart disease than those who worked standard hours.
It can cause heavy drinking
In 2015, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health published the largest ever study of the correlation between working patterns and alcohol consumption. They found that when people worked more than 48 hours per week, they were more likely to engage in “increased risky alcohol use.” Risky alcohol use was defined as more than 14 drinks per week for women and more than 21 drinks per week for men. They also found that people who worked long hours were 11% more likely to be heavier drinkers than those who worked normal hours, regardless of gender.
Finding time to relax and unwind is key to performing at your best, so if you’re working very long hours, figure out a way to pull back on this.
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