Australians are working longer hours than ever before and our brains are suffering as a result.
A new study conducted by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research found that people working 60 hours a week have poorer mental function than those who don’t work at all.
The study examined the working hours and cognitive abilities of 6500 Australians aged 40 and over. It found that brain function steadily increased for every hour worked up to 25 hours a week.
Every hour beyond that, however, cognitive function steeply declined, so that those working 60 hours or more were worse off than those who were unemployed.
“For cognitive functioning, working far too much is worse than not working at all,” one of the researchers Colin McKenzie, economics professor at Keio University in Japan, 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.”