If you work long hours Monday through Friday, it is tough on you, no matter how old you are. However, research shows that if you are over 40 and still working over 25 hours a week, you could be affecting your cognitive performance. These results come after testing 6,500 workers in Australia. They found that workers were at their best when they worked three days a week.
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Oddly enough, working less than 25 hours also hurt people cognitively, which leads the researchers to believe that 25 hours is the "sweet spot" for those in middle age.
To check it out, a team of researchers tested 3,000 Australian men and 3,500 women over the age of 40 on memory, reading, and perceptive ability.
"In all three cases it was found around 25 to 30 hours of work per week will maximize your cognitive skill," one of the researchers, Colin McKenzie from Keio University in Japan, told ABC News.
"For cognitive functioning, working far too much is worse than not working at all," he also said. "In the beginning work stimulates the brain cells. The stress associated with work physically and psychologically kicks in at some point and that affects the gains you get from working."
Too much work is obviously bad for us, but we don't know why just yet. The level of cognitive decline was the same in men and women, which is something interesting to note. The thought is that all of this is related to a lack of sleep and stress.
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Of course there is still a lot of research to go forward, but for now, the investigators are suggesting that companies taking inspiration from Sweden who is trialing a mandatory six-hour work day.