Holidays reduce the blood pressure, improve sleep and help manage the stress levels

How a holiday improves your life

Holidays can help people live longer, according to “The Holiday Health Experiment” conducted by luxury tour operator Kuoni and Nuffield Health, the UK’s largest healthcare charity. The Holiday Health Experiment found that those who took part benefited from lower blood pressure, improved sleep quality and improved stress management, with the effects continuing for at least two weeks after returning home.

The study, the first of its kind, set out to establish whether the much-discussed ‘feel good factor‘ generated by vacations is based on physical and psychological fact.

Participants were divided into a travel group and a non-travel group and all had stress-resilience testing and a 360+ Health Assessment by Nuffield Health. This was carried out alongside psychotherapeutic tests conducted by psychotherapist Christine Webber.

“For the first time, our clinical results show how holidays helped these couples reduce their blood pressure, improve their sleep and manage their stress levels better,” said Dr. Lucy Goundry Nuffield Health, Medical Director, Wellbeing.

“These results clearly demonstrate that on holiday our resilience to stress (our ability to physically cope with stress) improves. Becoming more resilient to stress is hugely important as most of us will return back to stress when our holiday ends but being more resilient to it helps lay the foundations for improved productivity at work, better energy levels and ultimately happiness.

“As many as a third of workers do not take their full holiday entitlement each year, I urge everyone to ensure they plan their holidays carefully, working hard is important but so is taking time to rest and recuperate.”

Highlights of the findings of the Holiday Health Experiment:

  • Blood Pressure: The average blood pressure of the holidaymakers dropped by a beneficial six per cent while the average of the non-holidaymakers went up over the same period by two per cent. (Avoiding high blood pressure is important to avert risk of stroke and heart attacks).
  • Sleep: The sleep quality of the holidaymakers improved while that of the non-holidaymakers deteriorated. Holidaymakers saw a 17 per cent improvement while the average for non-holidaymakers reduced by 14 per cent. (Quality of sleep is important for the body to physically and mentally repair).
  • Resilience to Stress: The ability to recover from stress (known as the stress-resilience test) saw an average improvement of 29 per cent among holidaymakers. This compared to a 71 per cent fall in stress resilience scores among the non-holidaymakers. (The higher the stress resilience score the better the body is recovering from stress efficiently).

Other holidaymaker improvements included:

  • Decreases in blood glucose levels, reducing risk of diabetes.
  • Improved body shape (losing weight around their middles) which may lower risk of heart disease and diabetes.
  • Improved energy levels and mood.