The idea of the typical 8-hour workday has long since disappeared for many people, as many people work more than one job to make ends meet economically. As doctors, we understand all too well the feeling of being overworked and under-rested, and we know this causes stress. For doctors, this type of overwork even led to a new work hour reform for our residents to ensure they are more rested and less likely to make mistakes. What about our health-are there adverse health consequences for people spending too much time at the office? How much is too much?
According to a new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the answer is yes.- working too many hours a day is bad for your health This study looked at about 7,100 British workers, ages 39-62, over an 11-year period, and tracked how many hours per day they worked, as well as various health issues they may have had. The researchers found that those who worked more than 11 hours a day increased their risk of heart disease by two-thirds (67%), compared with people who worked 6 to 7 hours a day.
This study was less than comforting to us, to say the least, as we ‘budget’ our time based on a 55 hour work week. This should change, and we can start to work on that. A take-a-way for everyone is that if you’re working long days, it is even more important that you pay close attention to your diet, blood pressure, exercise, sleep and exposure to tobacco smoke. This is a great topic to address with your physician to lower your risk for heart disease.
Let us know what you think. How many hours of work are too much?