12 Reasons Why Your Brain Craves Vacation Time

If given the choice, how many of us would have to think it over when choosing between spending two weeks on vacation and putting in the 9-5 at work? It’s a fair assumption to say that most of us would choose to spend the time relaxing on a sun-kissed beach somewhere in the Caribbean, but the reality is that too many people choose the opposite – foregoing time off in order to keep working.

It’s in a business’s interests to ensure that its employees make the most of their vacation allowance as, according to Oxford Economics, “[p]aid time off leads to productivity gains as workers report returning to work refreshed and with a better attitude.” But the message appears to be getting lost in translation between managers and their employees, with studies showing that around 40% of workers feel as though they can’t justify taking time off, and that 57% are still holding on to unused vacation time at the end of the business year.

One needs only to take a quick glance at the overwhelming evidence from scientific studies to understand what we already know intuitively – that vacation is good for your brain. But how exactly does it help your thought-engine to do its thing? For starters, there’s the fact that taking a vacation will improve your brainpower, i.e. capacity to learn and overall mental sharpness. When your brain is completely relaxed, experiments have shown that it consolidates knowledge and brain power – improving and memorizing new skills learned the week before.

And this connects with an increased ability to solve problems intuitively. The results from experiments conducted by the University of Nijmegen suggest that, when we’re not actively tackling a task, our brain connects and consolidates current ideas with prior knowledge. This creates new ideas and solutions to problems while improving brain performance

And that’s just scratching the surface – to discover 10 other reasons why your brain craves vacation time, and the science behind them, check out the rest of the infographic below to see why you should file that holiday request as soon as possible.


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Sources
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    Albert, N. B. et al. (2009). The resting human brain and motor learning. Current Biology, 19(12). 1023-1027.
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  5. Framingham Heart Study. (2015). About the Framingham Heart Study. framinghamheartstudy.org
  6. Frese, M. et al. (2003). Mental fatigue and the control of cognitive processes: effects on perseveration and planning. Acta Psychologica, 113(1).
  7. Leung, A. K. et al. (2008). Multicultural experience enhances creativity: the when and how. American Psychologist, 63(3). 169-181.
  8. Martin, E. (2014). Here’s the huge mistake 42% of US employees make. businessinsider.com
  9. Quigley, P. (2013). Vacations help job and health, but Americans skip them. abcnews.go.com
  10. Saad, L. (2014). The “40-hour” workweek is actually longer – by seven hours. gallup.com
  11. Schwartz, T. (2012). More vacation is the secret sauce. hbr.org
  12. Tarumi, K. & Hagihara. A. (1999). An inquiry into the causal relationship among leisure vacation, depression, and absence from work. Journal of UOEH, 21(4).
  13. Thaik, C. M. (2013). Take a vacation for your health. psychologytoday.com
  14. Tugend, A. (2008). Take a vacation, for your health’s sake. nytimes.com 
  15. Virtanen, M. et al. (2008). Long working hours and cognitive function: the Whitehall II study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 169(5).
  16. Virtanen, M. et al. (2012). Long working hours and coronary heart disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Epidemiology, 176(7). 586-596.

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Tyshawnn
    June 7, 2018 at 3:59 am — Reply

    Great article, Now I am busy niagara falls packages from new york.

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