Here’s a very important reason to say no to overtime
Getting in early, staying late, or firing off emails way into your evenings? Not only is this bad for the elusive work/life balance – new research shows it could seriously up your stroke risk, and harm your heart health.
New research published in The Lancet, found that working 55 hours or more a week (as opposed to 40 or less) increased participant’s risk of having a stroke by a third. This happens when the blood supply to part of your brain is cut off and it can’t access the essential nutrients and oxygen it needs to function. It’s essentially a brain attack experienced by an average 152,000 people in the UK every year.
The analysis, which pulled together results from 17 studies, with over 530,000 participants also highlighted a 13 per cent raise in coronary heart disease for people who can’t say no to overtime, and put in 55 hours a week.
Read more: Expert advice on keeping your heart healthy
But what if you look after yourself – working out in the mornings and eating balanced meals? The research suggests you’re not immune. Factors like smoking, drinking and regular workouts were factored into the research.
Experts at UCL said the exact cause couldn’t be pinned down, though the unhealthy behaviors associated with long hours like a lack of activity and drinking more alcohol could be to blame.
But don’t needlessly worry about an early morning or a ‘I’m-on-a-roll’ half-hour later leave time. The increased risk is relative, with people working a 41-48 hour week only averaging a 10 per cent higher risk; compared to a 27 per cent raised risk for those working between 49-54 hours weekly.
Read more: The supplement proven to help lower your stroke risk
Struggling to get out the door – or out of your inbox after hours? Remember, your time is precious, and good health is built on consistent healthy habits. Investigate ways to maximise your productivity and work smarter, not longer. It’s worth taking a look at your to-do list, too. Prioritise tasks and lose any non-essential jobs.
Take a leaf out of the Scandinavian approach to balancing work and play, and pick up the new issue of Healthy, where we investigate the myth of multitasking and help you do less but achieve more.
What if it gets to the end of the day and you haven’t got everything neatly ticked? Leave, and see what happens. We promise it won’t be as bad as you think!
Do you struggle to say no to overtime? Join the conversation on Twitter @healthymag or on our Facebook page