People often talk about the hours they put in at work as if they are proud of working far more than the required 40 hours per week. They may put in overtime to get up to 50 or even 60 hours. This leaves very little time for anything else in life, however, and that can be a problem.
For instance, what if working long hours means that you cannot get adequate sleep? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that everyone should shoot for at least seven hours of sleep on a consistent basis. Failing to get that can have a major impact on your health. Remember, sleep is not just passive rest. It is time for your body to heal, repair itself, clean the brain, form memories and much more. Without it, you are more likely to fall ill or fail to recover if you’re already sick.
Long hours on the job could also make it more likely that you get injured in an accident. We know well the role of drowsy driving in car accidents. In the same fashion, it can make you less focused at work. You could even nod off on the job. You may have slower reaction times, you may make mistakes with a “foggy” brain that you never would have made otherwise, and you could suffer significant injuries as a result.
American culture really emphasizes hard work, but at what point is working too hard actually detrimental? It is an important question to ask from a health and wellness perspective.
Of course, just getting enough sleep does not guarantee you won’t get injured at work or contract a work-related illness. If you do, make sure that you know exactly what legal steps you can take.