In this article, we are going to investigate the potential health consequences of working too much. But before these potential health consequences of overworking, you may want to answer the following questions.
1- Are you are working more than (roughly) 45 hours a week? If your answer is yes, then you might be putting your health at risk, according to researchers.
2- Do you (in general) enjoy your time while working at the office or wherever your workplace is? If the answer is no, the risk of developing mental problems automatically increases.
3- Out of working hours, do you spend more than an hour commuting? if you are saying yes, then you are more susceptible to mental and physical problems.
4- Do they pay a salary you think you deserve? If not, it can cause burnout.
5- Is there a risk of injury in your workplace? if there is, this possibility may cause mental fatigue.
6- Do you -unwittingly – check the emails or documents related to your job when you are at home? If so, you are working longer than you think.
In fact, the reason for asking such questions is to remind you that it is not only about working long hours but also other factors, such as work environment, salary, commuting time or working at home can bring about work-related health consequences.
Experts say that although the hours of working is the primary factor on an employee’s health; working conditions, relationship with colleagues and other factors also play a significant role when it comes to the mental and psychical health of an employee.
Let’s look at 7 potential health consequences of working too much and provide the studies and experts’ opinions that support these potential consequences of working too much.
1- Sleep Problems
There are various studies, demonstrating the positive correlation between long working hours and increased risk of sleep disorders.
In a study on overtime work and depression; researchers suggested that there can be a potential positive correlation between long working hours and mental problems such as depression
Please note that these mental symptoms can easily cause sleep disorders.
If you are one of those who usually work too much, you must have experienced sleep problems many times yourself.
For instance, after a stressful and busy day at work, it would be quite difficult for you to relax your mind at night to take a restorative sleep,
Long term sleep deprivation is linked to various health problems such as; hypertension, heart attack, stroke, obesity, diabetes, depression, anxiety, memory loss.
If you have a job where you are ” forced/compelled ” to work too much, stress and stress-related mental problems like depression become an unavoidable consequence.
Working more than 50 hours a week can, so to speak, wreak havoc on your health.
In the research, we referred to in the previous section, researchers revealed the mental impacts of working more than 45 hours a week.
The participants, working long hours, were significantly more depressive and showing strong anxiety symptoms. Long term stress increases the risk of hypertension, heart attack, or stroke, according to APA.
3- Musculoskeletal Problems
It would be unfair showing long work hours as the mere cause of musculoskeletal problems like lower back pain or stiff neck. Because these problems are common and every one of us experiences these pains at some point in our lives.
However, the issue is long working hours are a major contributing factor to these musculoskeletal disorders.
Your job may require you to stand long hours, or it may require work in front of a computer, or you may have to drive long hours. If so, problems like lower back pain and stiff neck become more frequent unless you give time to your body to rest.
Particularly, spending too much time at the office with bad posture sets the stage for back and neck pain.
4- Heart Problems
Even though the human body tolerates stress that we all experience from time to time, prolonged stress ( occurs due to working conditions ) can take a toll on the heart, particularly if the person older than 50.
If you have been working long hours for years at a stressful work environment, then there can be an increased risk of having heart disease for you, according to experts.
In a study, carried out at the University of Texas Health Science Center; those who worked for 10 years with 46 or more working hours were found to carry 16 % more risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and heart failure.
5- Social Problems
Another potential consequence of working long hours can be damaged social and family life.
Working long hours can drain your energy, this, in turn, may make you a tired and sulky person at home.
Not being able to spare enough time for family members or always looking tired around them can potentially create an unwelcome atmosphere at home.
On the other hand, if working and commuting combined take too much time, you can unavoidably neglect your friend and your social life. This in turn can lead you loneliness and prolonged stress.
Damaged friendships and increased family problems due to working too much can cause certain health problems such as hypertension and depression.
6- Leads to Bad Habits
Throughout the article, we emphasised how working too much and stress go hand in hand.
When working too much becomes chronic, stress also turns into depression. And, individuals may turn to bad habits such as drinking alcohol and smoking, as they can’t get out of depression.
There is a great number of studies that examined the relationship between working overtime – generally more than 48 hours – and alcohol abuse.
Researchers who analysed 61 different studies from 14 different countries came to the conclusion that those who work more than 48 hours per week are 11 % more likely to drink too much alcohol compared to those who work approximately 40 hours each week.
Another study found that those working more than 50 hours a week twice as likely to smoke than those working regular full-time hours range from 35 to 45 hours a week.
7- Eye Problems
If your job requires you to use a computer for long hours, that indicates you are carrying more risk for developing eye problems such as; dry eyes, eye strain, etc.
Working 40 hours a week in front of a computer means your eyes aren’t able to find enough time to rest, particularly, in this modern age where the use of smartphones and computers has increased significantly.
This prolonged computer use at work can potentially pave the way for eye strain, itching, dry eyes and also red eyes.
Tarkan is an experienced health writer ( currently more than 600 articles ) and also the founder of this website namely www.neededforhealth.com. His expertise in health stems from in-depth medical research and knowledge which he obtained over the course of many years.
Tarkan enjoys sharing factual knowledge on health, psychology and nutrition. He always aims to deliver evidence-based recommendations, provide links to related scientific studies.