People Over 40 Should Ideally Not Work More Than 3 Days A Week, According To Study

Working from nine to five may be the norm, but it’s never been a picnic. Seriously, did you ever perk up on a Sunday night and think, “Wahoo! Tomorrow I get to start racking up another forty hours!” Of course not, because putting in forty hours (or forty hours plus) a week isn’t for sissies. If it were, we wouldn’t need weekends and vacations to recuperate.

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But the news gets worse. Researchers recently turned up some pretty crazy consequences related to long hours and cognitive performance.

The 40+ hour week gets almost everybody down, but as long as you’re still working, chances are you’re stuck with it. Then again, maybe not—at least, not if you’re over 40. See, experts from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research recently released a study suggesting people over 40 should be working fewer hours per week, and for good reason.

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The Melbourne group compared the number of hours most people work with the way they performed on psychological tests measuring short-term memory and concentration. As it turns out a 25-hour (approximately speaking) working week boosted psychological performance, while working more hours/week had a negative impact.

Translation: Three days would be the best possible working week for people at this particular stage of life.

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Sure, those over 40 need mental stimulation. What they don’t need is too much of that good thing, because it might have negative effects on their thinking, attention, and memory.

In the study, people who routinely worked 60+ hours a week scored lower on cognitive performance than people who didn’t work, period! Perhaps not surprisingly, this research has met some resistance. According to economics Professor Geraint Johnes, of Lancaster University, in his interview with the BBC, because "the research looks only at over-40s, [it] cannot make the claim that over-40s are different from any other workers."

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In other words and technically speaking, the research can only talk about over-40s if some under-40s are included in the test sample. Because it might be that longer working weeks affect them, too.

Still, the study proofs that over-40s perform best when they reduce their weekly hours to 25 hours a week. Doesn't sound too bad, right?

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What do you think about these results? How do you feel about a 25-hour working week? Let us know in the comments and be sure to pass this article along to your friends and family!