Is working long hours bad for your health?
It hardly seems fair. You have to work long hours because that is your job. Your social life is ruined and you regularly fall asleep into your ready-meal. But, actually, it is even worse: research increasingly shows that working long hours puts you at greater risk from heart disease and mental health problems. Oh, and it makes you less productive.
Last month, research using pooled data from eight studies of more than 85,000 workers across Europe showed that working 55 hours or more a week increases your risk of developing atrial fibrillation, a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate and can lead to strokes and heart attacks.
Over the 10 years of the study, people working 55 or more hours had a 40% increase in their risk of developing atrial fibrillation. This increase remained even after the researchers took into account that these workers already had more existing health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure, and that they drank and smoked more than those on shorter hours.