Here’s another great argument for maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Research now shows that people who work well beyond the standard 40-hour week may show a somewhat faster mental decline in middle-age.
A study of more than 2,000 UK government employees, found long work hours were linked to poorer performance on certain tests of cognitive function — as well as a steeper decline in mental acuity over time.
Those who worked 55 hours or more showed a greater decline in reasoning ability over five years compared with people who worked 35 to 40 hours per week. The study authors say it’s not clear whether the long work hours themselves explain the difference, or if it was other factors like workers’ specific jobs, education and medical conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease.
Employees who worked longer hours also tended to have higher stress levels, sleep less and drink more than their counterparts who worked a standard week.