Brain stimulation is important in every stage of your life, and brain nourishment is as crucial as food nourishment. Giving your brain some stimulation will keep it in great shape, even when you get older.
Excessive food can make you obese, and the same goes for the brain as well. Excessive stimulation can be dangerous for your grey matter, so be careful what kind of stimulation you give to your brain.
Newest research proves that people over 40 shouldn’t stimulate their brain too much with long working hours, because the results may be counterproductive.
Cognitive decline can happen as early as in your 40s. It manifests with losing the ability to focus and remember important facts. This overstimulation and cognitive decline usually happens because of your excessive work.
The Melbourne Institute of Applied Economics and Social Research did interesting research about the working hours of people over 40.
This study involved 3500 women and 3000 men at the age of 40 and over. What they found out was that working up to 30 hours a week is great for your brain.
This is the good limit for improving your cognitive function when you reach this age, but once you cross the limit of 30 hours, your performance will start getting worse.
Men and women included in the study received cognitive function tests. They were also observed while working.
The study proved that 55 hours or work a week worsens cognitive function and impairment is even worse than in people who were unemployed or retired.
These people were also monitored on reading words aloud, matching letters and numbers in speed trials, and reciting lists of numbers, as a part of the test. Professor Colin McKenzie was the author of the test in this Household Colin Labour Dynamics in Australia survey.
He stated that the indicators of the tests’ results were the thinking and the knowing. The knowing ability is in the reading tests, whereas the thinking ability is in the memory, abstract, and executive reasoning.
The professor mentioned that countries nowadays want to raise the retirement age and force people to work longer time, but they have to consider the working hours first. The survey does not take into consideration the type of work, so there is still more research to be conducted.
Intellectual stimulation is good if you want to maintain your cognitive function. You can do it by brain puzzles (Sudoku), or crosswords, but not with overstimulation, because it will have an opposite effect on you.
The most important thing is the degree to which you will stimulate your brain when you are over 40. Anything that is causing you fatigue and stress is a sign you should stop and call it a day.
If you note some signs of cognitive decline, it is time to reconsider how much you are working throughout the day. Go on a holiday, take some rest, and don’t cross the limit of 30 working hours a week to keep your brain healthy!
Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series Working Paper No. 7/16
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