Study: Working More than 50 Hours A Week Could Seriously Jeopardize Your Health

Researchers find link between working long hours and stroke risk


Have you ever stopped to think about how your typical work week might be affecting your health?

If you frequently work more than 50 hours a week, new findings from a meta-analyses that examined more than 600,000 people from 25 different studies might have you reevaluate the amount of time you’re spending in the office.

In one of the largest studies of its kind, researchers at University College London found that working 55 hours or more per week was associated with a 33 percent increased risk for stroke and a 13 percent increased risk for heart disease.

Additionally, the data revealed that working 49 to 54 hours per week was associated with a 27 percent increased risk for stroke and working 41 to 48 hours per week was associated with a 10 percent increased risk for stroke.

The study’s authors noted the data does not prove definitively that working long hours causes people to have strokes, but that there is definitely a link between the two factors and the more hours people work, the more prominent it becomes.

“The authors posit that ‘working long hours tends to be correlated with risky health behaviors, like drinking more alcohol or sitting for hours at a time,’” notes Dr. Michael S. Fenster, M.D., a board certified interventional cardiologist and author of The Fallacy of the Calorie: Why the Modern Western Diet is Killing Us and How to Stop It. “The combination of such behaviors ‘with the stress associated with working overtime, could be a perfect recipe for a stroke or cardiovascular strain.’”

In their conclusion, the study’s authors point out that these findings show there is a significant need for those who work long hours to place a larger focus on managing cardiovascular risk factors — like by exercising regularly, eating nutritious whole foods, regularly getting adequate amounts of sleep and managing stress levels.

Given that many people who work exhaustingly long hours typically experience both, it’s also worth pointing out that lifestyle factors like chronic stress and lack of sleep are associated with an increased risk for things like heart disease, diabetes, depression and anxiety, back pain, and even premature aging.

For expert tips on how to better manage stress and sleep habits see:

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