This Labor Day reveals new medical research showing that 'workaholics,' identified as people who work 50 hours a week or more, are at greater risk for serious illness and death than other workers, 1200 WOAI news reports.
The case of a Bank of America intern in London who collapsed and died after working three nights in a row is raising the issue of the impact of 'extreme work' on the body.
Dr. Angela Velez, a local internist, says working too hard messes with the body's internal rhythms.
"After being sleep deprived, people can have seizures, and some of these seizures can cause death," she said.
And research indicates that it is difficult if not impossible for the body to 'catch up' on missed sleep by 'sleeping in' on weekends.
"We need to sleep and we need to sleep at least seven house per night and many important metabolic and psychological functions happen where we are asleep," she said.
Unlike other parts of the world, America has always praised 'hard workers' dating back to the days of Ben Franklin's 'Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.' Unlike European and Asian cultures, which prize a work life balance, the U.S. has always looked down on people who don't work hard.
As the economy struggles to recover from the recession, more people have also taken multiple jobs to help make ends meet.
The new Internet-driven '24/7' culture is also driving more Americans to work longer, and more non traditional hours. It is estimated that fully one third of all Americans work something other than the traditional morning to work and afternoon at home shift, and as many as half of all Americans routinely don't get traditional holidays, like Labor Day, off.
The recession has also made more Americans worried for their jobs, prompting them to work extra hard to avoid layoff.
"The bottom line is, we need to sleep and we need to sleep regularly," Dr. Velez said.