Nearly 86% of American men and 67% of women work more than 40 hours in any given week.
How many of you would love to work a four-day workweek, 32 hours a week? Working 40 hours a week is the norm for most American workers, but a recent survey concluded that workers could finish their assigned tasks in just 32 hours. Once you cut out all the time wasted doing things unrelated to their job. Not only were the workers more productive but happier and more satisfied with their job.
Interestingly, new research claims to prove that people over 40 shouldn’t even be working 32 hours per week. The claim is that too much work overstimulated their brain resulting in less productivity.
Cognitive decline can happen as early as in your 40s. It manifests in losing the ability to focus and remembering important facts. This overstimulation and cognitive decline usually occur because of your excessive work.
The Melbourne Institute of Applied Economics and Social Research did interesting research about the working hours of people over 40. This study involved 3500 women and 3000 men at the age of 40 and over. What they found out was that working up to 30 hours a week is excellent for your brain.
This is the optimum limit for improving your cognitive function when you reach this age, but once you cross the threshold of 30 hours, your performance will start getting worse.
Men and women included in the study received cognitive function tests. They were also observed while working.
The study proved that 55 hours or work a week worsens cognitive function and impairment is even worse than in people who were unemployed or retired.
These people were also monitored on reading words aloud, matching letters and numbers in speed trials, and reciting lists of numbers, as a part of the test. Professor Colin McKenzie was the author of the test in this Household Colin Labor Dynamics in Australia survey.
He stated that the indicators of the tests’ results were the thinking and the knowing. The knowing ability is in the reading tests, whereas the thinking ability is in the memory, abstract, and executive reasoning.
The professor mentioned that countries nowadays want to raise the retirement age and force people to work longer, but they have to consider the working hours first. The survey does not take into consideration the type of work, so there is still more research to be conducted.
Intellectual stimulation is useful if you want to maintain your cognitive function. You can do it by brain puzzles (Sudoku), or crosswords, but not with overstimulation because it will have an opposite effect on you.
The most important thing is the degree to which you will stimulate your brain when you are over 40. Anything that is causing you to be fatigued and stressed is a sign you should stop and call it a day.
If you are starting to notice signs of cognitive decline, it is time to reconsider how much you are working throughout the day. Of course, it’s probably not possible to only work three days a week, but make sure you are not leaving any vacation time on the table. To keep your brain healthy you need to rest it as much as possible!