Working Long Hours Might Literally Be Killing You

Go home. Now.
IMAGE 20th Century Fox

Working long hours takes away your personal time, messes with your sleep schedule and tanks your social life. It's exhausting. Oh, and it might be killing you.

A new study in European Heart Journal found that people who worked long hours were more likely to develop a condition leading to blood clots, stroke, or heart failure. That condition was atrial fibrillation, an irregular or quivering heartbeat, and the long hours corresponded with a 1.4-fold increased risk of getting it, when participants were controlled for age, sex, and socioeconomic status. To add insult to injury, those who worked long hours were also more likely to be obese, inactive during their free time, depressed, and anxious. They were also more likely to smoke and riskily drink. More than 85,000 people were included in the study.

How many hours is "long" hours, exactly? For this study, "standard" hours were considered 35 to 40 per week, and "long" hours considered anything above 55 hours a week. In America (and not many other countries), full-time employees work an average of 47 hours a week, and almost 40 percent work more than 50 hours a week, according to a Gallup poll. So there are a lot of employees out there who have a right to be concerned for their physical health.

So instead of shrugging it off, just leave the office already. There's no use making overtime pay—if you're even making overtime pay—if you die before spending it.

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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Sarah Rense
Sarah Rense is the Lifestyle Editor at Esquire, where she covers tech, food, drinks, home, and more.
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