One benefit employees desire in a job is paid time off – but studies show that half of all employees in the U.S. don’t fully utilize their vacation time. While it may seem like you have too much to do to take time off, taking vacation time is beneficial to your health and work.

Physical Benefits

If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be working at peak performance. Studies have shown that taking a vacation can reduce your overall stress levels, as well as stress-related ailments such as backaches. These improvements can last as much as five weeks after your vacation, proving that regular time off is an important tool to manage your stress.

Sleep also suffers when you don’t take your vacation time. Stress can interrupt sleep patterns, and poor sleep can lead to a multitude of problems. A few days off to reset your sleep schedule can help put you back on track.

Vacation time can reduce your risk of heart attack. Skipping your vacation time multiple years in a row can lead to a 30% increase in heart attacks over time. Taking your paid time off is an important way to help your body rest and recharge to help you stay healthy.

Work Benefits

All work and no play makes you less productive. The more you work without a break, the harder it becomes for you to perform at your peak, which can make your work quantity and quality suffer. A study has shown that for every 10 hours of vacation time you take, your performance can be boosted 8%.

Travel can also help increase your creativity and broaden your perspectives. By taking the time to see the world – whether that is your neighborhood or another country – you are opening your mind up and giving your brain the space to think outside the box.

Vacation time is a benefit of many jobs, but much of this time goes to waste when employees don’t use it. Whether it’s a week at the beach or just spending time at home, taking time off to disconnect from work can actually boost your productivity and improve your health. You’ve earned your time off, so remember to use it!