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A case for a shorter work day: improved mental health

A number of previous studies have suggested a link between working long hours and a depressed mood. So investigators at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki studied over 2,000 white collar workers over a 5 year period. Their average age was 47, and they were free of any mental health issues upon entering the study. Other variables that were controlled for included gender, substance abuse, social support and socioeconomic status.

The results: both men and women who consistently worked 11 hours per day or longer had more than two times the risk of developing depression when compared with those people who worked 8 hours or less per day. The results of this study were published in the Journal Plos One last month.

Another recent study, looking at 10,000 employees in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine had a similar outcome with patients demonstrating increased levels of depression and anxiety in those who worked the most overtime hours.

The increased risk to develop depression with working long hours may ultimately stem from the following series of events: those who work more hours generally experience higher levels of stress, sleep less, and exercise less. People who work long hours often tend to socialize less, and spend less time with their families and significant others. They may not eat healthy foods, and have an increased risk for developing substance abuse to fight work fatigue. All of the aformentioned reasons may ultimately lead to a higher incidence of heart disease.

If this describes your current situation, you may want to consider making some life changes.

This informative article was written Robert Glatter and published in Forbes

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