People who work 49 or more hours a week drink more booze than nine-to-fivers, study finds
- Workers who do 49 or more hours a week consume an extra glass of wine or pint
- Experts claim workaholics turn to alcohol to ‘reward’ themselves and unwind
- Also warn the cost of living crisis could force more families to work overtime
People who work more tend to drink more alcohol, a study suggests.
Employees who do 49 or more hours a week consume an extra glass of wine or pint of beer, on average, compared to those who work a standard nine-to-five.
Experts say workaholics use alcohol to ‘reward’ themselves and unwind after a long, stressful week.
They also warn the cost of living crisis could force more families to work overtime or take a second job, which could turn more people to the bottle.
The World Health Organization (WHO) study is the latest to link working hours to booze consumption.
Previous research has also associated working more than 48 hours per week to heavy and binge drinking.
People who work 49 or more hours a week consume an extra glass of wine or pint of beer, on average, compared to those who work a standard nine-to-five (file image)
In the latest study, published in the journal Safety and Health at Work, experts reviewed data from 14 studies involving around 105,000 people.
Those who worked 41 to 48 hours per week consumed 10.4g more of pure alcohol a week, on average, than those who worked 35 to 40 hours.
That is the equivalent of a half pint of beer or a small glass of wine.
But those who do 49 to 54 hours a week consumed an extra 17.7g of pure alcohol each week, the same as a pint of weak beer or larger glass of wine.
The WHO study did not find evidence that long working hours was tied to binge drinking, despite previous papers warning of a link.
The NHS recommends men and women not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week — around 112g of pure alcohol.
Study author Professor Lode Godderis, from KU Leuven in Belgium, told The Sun: ‘We know that having long working hours is stressful and that alcohol reduces stress.
‘Having a drink can make you feel more relaxed and, after a week of long or hard work, you feel like you deserve a treat so we give ourselves a present.’
He said working from home during the pandemic and the cost of living crisis may lead to longer working weeks, and therefore more alcohol consumption.
It comes after a study found spreading alcohol intake across the week is safer than binging it all in one night.
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found having one glass every night, rather than seven in one go, makes people far less likely to become an alcoholic.
The study followed 1,000 Americans aged 30 and above for nine years.
Dr Charles Holahan, study leader and a psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, said not all units of alcohol consumed are equal.
How much alcohol is too much?
To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level, the NHS advises men and women not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week.
A unit of alcohol is 8g or 10ml of pure alcohol, which is about:
- half a pint of lower to normal-strength lager/beer/cider (ABV 3.6%)
- a single small shot measure (25ml) of spirits (25ml, ABV 40%)
A small glass (125ml, ABV 12%) of wine contains about 1.5 units of alcohol.
But the NHS warns the risk to your health is increased by drinking any amount of alcohol on a regular basis.
Short-term risks include injury, violent behaviour and alcohol poisoning.
Long-term risks include heart and liver disease, strokes, as well as liver, bowel, moth and breast cancer.
People who drink as much as 14 units a week are advised to spread it evenly over three or more days, rather than binge drinking.
Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant are advised not to drink to reduce risks for the baby.