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After Vacation: Tips to Bounce Back Fast

Suffering from the post-vacation blues? Here's how to ease the re-entry into your regular life.

Tip No. 2: Watch Sleep and 2 Other Vacation Variables

Sleep, alcohol, and kids tend to be interrelated, says Michael Breus, PhD, author of Good Night: The Sleep Doctor's 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health.

"Vacationing with small children can turn out to be more effort than staying at home," says Breus, who writes a blog for WebMD.

"If you stay home, the kids have all their toys and they can run around, while in a hotel room that may not be the case."

Kids also wake up during the night, which means a sleep shortfall for parents.

In addition, people on vacation tend to drink more alcohol and stay up later -- a double whammy that easily disrupts sleep.

"Alcohol may make you fall asleep quickly, but you don't get into the deeper stages, so you end up sleep deprived," Breus says. "I'm not against drinking, but you have to realize the effect. If you watch the amount of alcohol and food you consume, and get to bed at a reasonable hour, and get some exercise, which will help you sleep, you might be able to get rid of your sleep debt."

Jet lag also disrupts sleep.

"In truth, jet lag is a natural process your body should be able to get through," Breus says. "Your body will normalize about one time zone per day."

If you do want to use a sleep aid to help you overcome jet lag, avoid Benadryl, Breus says. "Benadryl has a long half-life, so you couldn't pick a worse thing to take."

Tip No. 3: Be Realistic About Your Relationship and Trip

Some couples discover that the togetherness of a vacation exposes weak spots in their relationship, according to Emma K. Viglucci, founder and president of Metropolitan Marriage and Family Therapy in New York City.

"People think their problems will go away on vacation, but your problems come with you no matter where you go," Viglucci says. "For some people, vacation is like Christmas -- everything has to be perfect, but often the vacation falls short of those expectations."

On top of that, spending so much time together actually may create hostility and allow resentment to fester, according to Everett Worthington, PhD, professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University and author of Humility: The Quiet Virtue.

"A vacation provides lots of little opportunities to argue," he says. "They have to make all these decisions: Where do we go? When will we arrive? What will we do when we get there? This gives them plenty of opportunities to disagree."

The best strategy for coping, according to Worthington, is to recognize that such friction is a part of the vacation experience.

"They must resign themselves to the fact that they are going to disagree," he says, "and then focus on the question: Can we get past this decision so we can enjoy the rest of the vacation?"

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