Have you ever been so caught up in work that you’ve cancelled a long awaited vacation? Feeling exhausted and frustrated by long hours but haven’t given yourself a break? A recent study found that the average employee only takes half of their allotted vacation time. No wonder they’re feeling exhausted.

Whether it’s a European tour, or a week off at home to catch up on laundry, time off is important. It’s nourishes your physical and mental health and when you come back rested and rejuvenated, you’re even more productive!

Here are four reasons, backed by science, why you should take that vacation:

Stress Reduction – An American Psychological Association study found that vacations work by removing you from the activities and environment that people associate most with stress and anxiety. A similar study of 900 Canadian lawyers found that taking a vacation can help to reduce stress, and the effect lasts even after you return. A university of Vienna study found that taking a vacation can reduce stress related complaints like backaches for as long as five weeks after retuning home.

Prevent Heart Disease – Plenty of studies have proven the health benefits of taking regular vacations. In one, men at high risk for heart disease who skipped taking a vacation five years in a row, were 30% more likely to suffer from heart attacks than those who took a week’s vacation each year.  The Framingham Heart Study found that women who took the least vacation time (no more than once every six year) were nearly eight times more likely to have a heart attack than women who took at least two vacations a year.

Increased Productivity – To keep productivity high we work ourselves so hard that it’s difficult to keep operating a peak efficiency. It takes consistent focus to be truly productive. An internal study by Ernst and Young found that for every 10 hours of vacation time, the year-end performance rating of employees went up by 8%.

Better Sleep – It’s no wonder we suffer from poor sleep with so much on our minds. When we can’t stop the chatter in our heads, our sleep suffers. That means less focus, less alertness, and poor memory when we’re at work. Vacations can help you reset your sleep clock and recharge.

You’ve earned your vacation so take it! Today, a healthy work/life balance can keep you productive. Take your vacation and you’ll end up happier and more productive and everybody wins!