As if the warm summer weather wasn’t enough incentive for you to take a break from work, these new findings might just do the trick. According to a French study published in the American Heart Association’s journal, Stroke, working 10-hour days can increase your chance of having a stroke.
The study looked at 143,592 participants with full-time jobs, excluding anyone who’d had a stroke prior to the study. Of the participants, 29% (42,542 people) reported working long hours and 10% (14,481 people) reported working long hours for an extended period of 10 years or more.
Those who reported working 10 hours or more had a 29% greater risk of having a stroke in their lifetime, while those who did so for 10 years or more had a 45% greater chance of stroke.
The most surprising finding, according to study author Alexis Descatha, M.D., Ph.D., is the fact that the extended periods of longer work hours — and therefore the 45% greater risk of stroke — tended to occur for those under 50 years of age.
“The association between 10 years of long work hours and stroke seemed stronger for people under the age of 50,” Descatha said in a statement. “This was unexpected. Further research is needed to explore this finding.”
While she’s calling for further examination into this, there is some immediate action that can be taken.
“As a clinician, I will advise my patients to work more efficiently and plan to follow my own advice,” she said.
Side Effects Of Working Overtime
While the association of increased stroke risk and long work hours may be a recent development, it’s no secret that long works hours can have an impact on your health.
“Somewhere in the range of 40 to 50 hours per week is more than enough for most people,” Randy Simon, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist based in New Jersey, told Healthline.
And a telltale sign that you’re working too much, according to Simon, is when your “free time” becomes difficult to enjoy.
“Watch out for the moment you can’t enjoy your time off of work,” Simon told Healthline. “If work’s all-consuming, it’s not healthy.”
What’s Bad For The Body Is Bad For Business
Not only can working extended hours have negative impacts on your stress levels and mental health, it can also be bad for business in the long run.
According to a Harvard study, those who made it a point to disconnect from work experienced more work-life balance and were happier with their jobs.
“After five months employees experimenting with deliberate periodic rest were more satisfied with their jobs, more likely to envision a long-term future at the company, more content with their work-life balance and prouder of their accomplishments,” the study revealed.
This is why some companies are making moves to ensure employees get down time — from shortening the work week to docking employees’ pay when they don’t use their vacation time. More time off is proving to be better for the company’s bottom line — and yours, too.
So, about that vacation … it’s time to take one, don’t you think?