Are long working hours damaging your brain functions?


The world’s a racetrack today. Everyone is running to do the best of their abilities. The ever-demanding world really has literally no place to relax and rest. The race gets more intense every single day. The usual result of this is long working hours, which I’m sure all of you must have faced. The discomfort, the consequences.

Long working hours, without required break time due to this ever-increasing demand, are having negative impacts on physical and psychological health, which can potentially damage cognitive functioning.

What is Cognitive Function?

Cognitive function is how a person understands things and acts upon it. Cognitive brain function is the ability to work with information in a significant way, apply information that has already been gained, change opinions about that information and perform privileged changes.

Cognitive abilities are brain-based skills which take care of any task from the simplest to the most complex. It’s based on how we learn, remembering things, solving problems and paying attention, rather than with any actual knowledge.

How long working hours affect the cognitive functions?

Long working hours bring psychological stress and poor recovery from work as indicated by sleeping problems and reduced sleep. Psychological stress has been suggested as affecting the brain via 2 neuroendocrine systems. Continuous exposure to stress after work leads to decline in the performance of the individual.

In the beginning, work stimulates the brain cells. The stress associated with work physically and psychologically comes in at some point and it affects the gains you get from working.


  • Memory (acquiring, retaining and retrieving): Long working hours leads to stress, sleep deprivation and depression. These factors make it difficult to pay attention, which can affect memory in terms of acquiring, retaining and retrieving information.
  • Attention and Concentration: If our brain is tired and not working properly, it won’t be ready to pay 100% attention and person cannot concentrate on work.
  • Information processing: It’s part of our cognitive function and is related to the brain abilities. Long working hours affect information processing system of our memory.
  • Planning and priortizing: Long working hours with psychological stress affects our planning and finds out priorties in general life.
  • Verbal Fluency: As per the studies and tests performed people who work for long hours and the people who work for normal hours, the former had less verbal fluency compared to the latter.


How can you break through it?

Now here we will know how can we improve our cognitive functions and live a healthy lifestyle so that we can achieve our targets and success without affecting our brain abilities. We can improve the brain function abilities by normalizing our working hours which is a must to give some rest to our brain and to reduce psychological stress.


Some daily activities to include in your schedule to break through it:


  • Fitness : Performing any exercise, be it strength training, dancing, jogging or any sport of your choice on daily basis will help keep your brain fresh.


  • Sleep: A good night’s sleep, powernaps in between really helps in getting organized and sharpening the senses.


  • Relaxation: Including activities such as yoga & meditation in your daily routine will help your mind, body and soul relax.


  • Optimize your diet for brain Function: Keeping yourself hydrated, including green leafy veggies, and proportionate macronutrients in your diet will keep up the functioning of your brain.

Well, long working hours do affect the mind and our cognitive functions and leads to many chronic diseases. But if we take proper measures, all these can be avoided and we can lead a happy and stress-less life!

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Monika Sharma

Nutrition Consultant & Fitness Expert

To enrol under Monika, visit