Three-Day Week Could Be Best For Workers Over 40, Study Suggests

Bring on that four-day weekend.

If you're over 40 and looking to cut down the number of days you work, science might have found a very credible reason for going part-time.

A new study found that workers over 40 perform better if they only work a three-day week.

The study, conducted by researchers in Japan, found that working for more than 25 hours a week resulted in fatigue and stress for most middle-aged participants.

Experts suggest that people in middle and older age should work part-time if they want to maintain a healthy brain.

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The study, published in the Melbourne Institute Worker Paper series, asked 3,500 women and 3,000 men (aged 40 and over) to complete cognitive tests while their work habits were analysed.

They found that cognitive performance improved as the working week increased up to 25 hours. However anything past that and performance declined, for both men and women.

Those who worked 55 hours a week showed cognitive results worse than those who were retired or unemployed.

"Many countries are going to raise their retirement ages by delaying the age at which people are eligible to start receiving pension benefits. This means that more people continue to work in the later stages of their life," co-author Professor Colin McKenzie from Keio University told The Times.

"The degree of intellectual stimulation may depend on working hours. Work can be a double-edged sword, in that it can stimulate brain activity, but at the same time long working hours can cause fatigue and stress, which potentially damage cognitive functions.

"We point out that differences in working hours are important for maintaining cognitive functioning in middle-aged and elderly adults."

He said that working part-time in middle and older age could "be effective in maintaining cognitive ability".

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