We need vacations but don't take themMore than 60% of us feel less stressed out after a vacation, yet more than half of all workers don't take their allotted vacation days, according to a Westin Hotels & Resorts study. Why? Because they are too worried about their job security and the economy.

Many companies have adopted a "use it or lose it" policy as it relates to promised time off and 58% of the hotel chain's study respondents said they were more in need of a vacation than they were last year. Yet 64% of them canceled vacation plans due to work worries.

The cancellations come even as workers pine for the benefits of time away. More than 67% feel healthier on vacation and 64% said they slept better. More than half of those surveyed said taking a vacation contributes to a stronger marriage.

Vacations are healthy for us. In the 2000 Framington Heart Study, it was found that men who took regular vacations were 32% less likely to die of heart attacks than those who stayed chained to their desk. And women who do not take vacations are up to eight times more likely to suffer from heart disease than those who take two breaks a year. Women who vacation once a year were twice as likely to be satisfied with their marriage, according to researchers at the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in Wisconsin. And the more often people engage in leisure activities, the more likely they are to have a low body-mass index, says a study in the journal, Psychosomatic Medicine.

The Westin chain, a brand of Starwood Hotels, has launched a campaign to educate the public on the health benefits of taking vacations. Starting tomorrow, consumers who pledge to take time off can enter a sweepstakes to win a four-night stay at any Westin Hotel in North America.

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