In today’s economic climate, where employers—and everyone else—are trying to do more with less, it’s increasingly common for men to be putting in longer hours at work and cutting back on pesky inconveniences like sleep. Bad idea. Really bad.
According to a new study, working 11 hours per day (which a lot of us are doing) increases your chances of developing heart disease by 67 percent, compared to those who work just 8 hours per day.
The study, which was published in the American Journal of Epidimiology, tracked more than 22,000 people in the US, England, Japan, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Holland.
Researchers, led by Dr. Marianna Virtanen, say that there are several factors that account for the connection between long hours on the job and heart disease. One is long-term exposure to psychological stress. Other factors, they say, include “increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol, poor eating habits, and lack of physical activity due to limited leisure time.”
A similar study, conducted in Japan, went a step further and tracked sleep habits. Men who frequently put in more than 60 hours per week (which is very common in Japan and the US) and got five hours or less of sleep every night had double the heart attack risk.
General guidelines say that adults should be getting no less than 7 hours of sleep per night. Getting less than that can increase heart rate and blood pressure, which can lead to heart problems.