Planning on taking a vacation this summer? While you might think taking a quick break from reality will leave you more energized and productive at work, one study says the opposite.
In a study published last year in the Journal of Happiness Studies, researchers found that the positive health effects of vacations don't last long.
The study, which surveyed 54 employees before, during, and after their vacations, found that health and well-being increased quickly during the vacation, peaked on the eighth day, and returned back to normal within the first week of returning to work.
"On the first day of work resumption, positive vacation effects on H&W [health and well-being] have already entirely faded out," the research article states.
The results were based on longer vacations – for at least two weeks – with the average participant taking a vacation for 23 days.
The employees were asked to answer questions about their vacation experiences, work-related activities, and sleep patterns. Their health and well-being was determined by rating their health status, fatigue, satisfaction, mood, tension and energy level on a scale from 1-10 each day.
Researchers measured several other factors, such as the participants' engagement in passive activities, their amount of relaxation, and the amount of pleasure they derived from their vacation. The study found that these factors positively impacted health and well-being during the vacations, but not as much once they returned to their jobs.
Another factor the participants were measured by – sleep – seemed to have a positive effect on the employees as well. While many workers don't get a good night's rest each day during the week, they were able to sleep in during their time off, which benefited their health.
"Both sleep quantity and quality were related to positive H&W changes," the research article states. "The longer and the better vacationers slept, the more their H&W increased during vacation and 2 weeks thereafter."