The latest study published in the BMJ Diabetes Research and Care found that working long hours can have negative effects on your health and puts you at risk for type 2 diabetes – especially if you’re a woman.
The study followed over 7,000 workers in a span of 12 years to find a link between long working hours and the risk for diabetes. It reports that women who work for more than 45 hours a week had a 51% higher risk of diabetes than those who only worked between 35 to 40 hours weekly.
On the other hand, men who worked longer hours posed a lower risk of getting diabetes, but those who worked fewer hours were at risk. Other factors that came into play were physical activity, BMI, and smoking habits.
Additionally, the researchers found that longer working hours more negatively impacted women who were also living with children under the age of 12.
“We know women tend to assume a lot of family chores and responsibility outside the workplace, so one can assume that working long hours on top of that can have an adverse effect on health,” said Mahee- Gilbert-Ouimet, an epidemiologist at the Institute for Work and Health in Toronto.
But why the difference in the effects among men and women? Researchers are guessing that it might be because of the difference in work that men and women do – a third of the men in the study reported that their work involved spending time walking, standing, and sitting, while only 8% of the women in the study reported the same routine involved in their work.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that stress is one of the root causes of illnesses associated with being overworked. Longer periods of stress at work also puts you at higher risk for cardiovascular disease and psychological and emotional issues.
The CDC also said that people who suffered from intense levels of stress also paid 50% high health care fees. Previous studies have shown consistency with these findings, saying that longer working hours increased the chances for diabetes, most prominently among people under a lower socioeconomic status.
These results aren’t that surprising anymore since people who work over 40 hours a week go through more stress and more hormonal changes, particularly in the cortisol, which affects your insulin levels and the body’s ability to digest and break down sugars.
Too much stress will affect your eating habits, disrupt your sleep quality, and can overall be detrimental to your mental health.
But remember that it’s not just work hours you should look out for. Other factors like your commute to and from work, the company environment, job satisfaction, and duties in your home all contribute to your level of stress.
Here are some warning signs that you may be working too much and under immense stress:
You’re the first person in and the last one out of the office
We get it – you want to get more work in before everyone is hustling and bustling around you. But if you’re also a person who likes to stay behind when everyone else is already going home just to prepare your tasks for tomorrow, then you might want to take it easy.
Remember that long hours at work doesn’t mean you’re productive – if you get burnt out, you’re going to end up being too tired to focus on anything. Studies have also shown that working longer hours only make you productive for the next two to three weeks before it becomes pretty much useless.
You have daytime fatigue
It’s a pretty simple concept – being awake for longer means, of course, that you’re not getting the amount of sleep that your body needs. So the next day at work, you feel like a zombie. It also makes you grumpier, and you’ll end up focusing too much on staying awake that you don’t actually get any work done.
You think that professional success = personal success
Congratulations on your new promotion! But remember that this shouldn’t be your sole measure for personal happiness. One sign that you’re a workaholic is if you constantly look for validation from your clients or employers.
You spend too much time online
A sure sign of burnout is if you find ways to put off doing work, like scrolling through all of your social media feeds, taking too many BuzzFeed quizzes, or reading articles that would otherwise not interest you. You’re procrastinating, and it’s showing. Tweet less and just breathe for a minute. Another habit you might have developed is not answering emails immediately, feeling like these things can wait.
You’ve been drinking too much
If you work too much then chances are you’ve turned to drinking to help you unwind after a long week. Remember that too much alcohol consumption is going to worsen your health, so drink in moderation!
You spend your free time still doing work
Whether it’s your commute to work, your lunch break, or your trip going home, stop checking your emails! That report can wait until after you’ve finished your lunch! Focus on the task at hand, and use your commute to rest and slowly give your mind that downtime. This is especially important for people who have more duties waiting for them at home (like your kids, or your house chores). Plug in your earphones and listen to music or a podcast instead.
There are several other factors that contribute to the detriment of your health, so it’s important that you recognize these habits and learn to relax. We know you’re dedicated to your work, but take it easy and remember that if your health isn’t in the best condition, it’s not going to do you any favors doing all that work.