November 7, 2012
Working overtime? Well so are your stress hormones!
Researchers from Montreal examined whether the number of work hours per week would be related to differences in stress hormone levels during workdays and weekends. One hundred and thirty-two day-shift workers completed questionnaires and provided saliva samples at five time points (awakening, 30 minutes after awakening, 14h00, 16h00, and bedtime) for three days (Saturday, Tuesday, and Thursday). Beyond one’s age and sex, the results reveal that more working hours per week directly leads to higher stress hormone levels. Furthermore, findings suggest that those working long hours (more than 35 hours per week) benefit the most from at least one day of relaxation. Taken together, working hours represent a stressor that must be balanced by time-off.