Overworking and Burnout read the excellent article Written by Lindsay Kolowich Cox
There’s no doubt that technology has simplified the way we carry out our day-to-day routines. Computers help us do things faster, emails and text messages let us always be in touch, and the internet makes it easy to find the answer to any question with just a quick Google search.
While being constantly plugged in can make us feel safe, connected, and in-the-know — both at work and at home — it also means we never really clock out.
It’s one thing to pull a long day every once in a while to finish a project or deal with a crisis, but it’s another to routinely stay late at the office or work into the night. That’s chronic overwork — and it can have extremely negative impacts on your health, happiness, and overall quality of life.
But working overtime has become the norm for most people. And, now that multiple offices have embraced remote work, the lines between the end of the work day and the start of personal time can get even blurrier.
It’s one of those things everyone knows is bad for us, but no one really listens. Trouble is, failure to prioritize a healthy balance isn’t just bad for the employees — it’s actually bad for employers, too.
There are numerous research studies out there showing how overwork — and its resulting stress — can lead to many health problems. But, it also impacts your brand’s bigger business too. Read on to learn exactly why it’s bad for health and our performance at work.
Why Overworking is Bad For Your Health
1. It prevents sleep.
Study after study shows that working too much or too late in the day can negatively impact your sleep — whether it’s the resulting stress, the staring at the computer screen, or just not having enough time to unwind before hitting the hay.
Avoiding sleep can cause us to build up “sleep debt.” Essentially, it feels like your energy is overdrawn for days at a time until you get a proper eight hours of sleep.
Chronic sleep debt raises the risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. In the short-term, lack of sleep can have significant effects on the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in memory creation and consolidation.
Think you’re one of those “lucky people” who can get by fine with only five or six hours of sleep? You probably aren’t. While researchers have found genes in people that enable them to be well rested after less than eight hours of sleep, they also say incidence of either is incredibly rare.
2. Overworking gets in the way of good habits.
Working too much can take a toll on the body and brain in two ways — by boosting stress and by getting in the way of exercise, healthy eating, and other good habits.
For example, when you’re overtired, you rely more on caffeine to get you through the day, you tend to make unhealthy food choices and working out becomes a thing of the past.
Cleveland Clinic reports that stress due to overworking or lack of sleep can cause you to overreat or make poor diet choices. But how does this happen?
First, overworking and lack of sleep slows activity in the areas of our brains responsible for ranking different foods based on what we want and need.
Second, little sleep also causes an increase in the brain’s amygdala, which is responsible for controlling the salience of food. Over time, poor food choices can lead to weight gain and even obesity.
3. Overworking is bad for your heart.
A long-running study of more than 10,000 civil servants in London found that white-collar workers who worked three or more hours longer than a normal, seven-hour day had a 60% higher risk of heart-related problems than white-collar workers who didn’t work overtime. Examples of heart-related problems included death due to heart disease, non-fatal heart attacks, and angina, a condition caused by low blood supply to the heart.
A follow-up study of over 22,000 participants found that people who worked long hours were 40% more likely to suffer from coronary heart disease than those who worked standard hours.
And even after that, reports from health sites like WebMD still tell stories of people who developed heart conditions through overworking.
What about overworking might be causing heart disease, specifically?
The link between overworking and heart disease might have something to do with your personality. In fact, the “Type A vs. Type B” personality test was originally aimed to determine how likely it was that a person would develop coronary heart disease. Considering Type A folks tend to be more competitive, tense, time-oriented, and stressed out — which is often intensified by overworking — their personality type is often associated with a higher risk.
4. It leads to bad habits.
— Read on blog.hubspot.com/marketing/overwork-bad-health
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