(Australian Associated Press)
Middle-aged workers should switch to part-time because working 9-to-5 all week is bad for the brain.
And if they’re pulling lots of overtime – 60 hours or more – their brains are performing worse than if they were unemployed.
Those are the findings of a study of 6500 Australians aged over 40 that was conducted by Japanese researchers and published by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research.
It found that for middle-aged and older people, working a maximum of 25 hours a week drew out the best performance from their brains.
Grind on past this threshold and the information that flows across synapses starts to slow.
“Work can be a doubled-edged sword, in that it can stimulate brain activity, but at the same time, long working hours and certain types of tasks can cause fatigue and stress,” the researchers from Japan’s Keio University said.
The research involved 3000 women and 3500 men performing cognitive tests such as reciting a string of numbers backwards and reading aloud misspelt words.
Those who worked longer hours were more stressed and posted worse test results than those with lighter workloads, leading the researchers to suggest that middle-aged people should switch to part-time.
“Long working hours have a negative effect on cognition in middle age,” they said.
“People in old age could maintain their cognitive ability by working in a part-time job that requires them to work around 20-30 hours per week.”