Jodie Foster needs a year off after each acting role.
The 54-year-old star admitted she finds it much easier to recover after completing a directing job than she does when she's been working on screen.
She said: "The thing with directing is that it's hard, it's difficult and taxing, but once I've had a good sleep for about five days, I'm ready to get on the boat again.
"As an actor? I have to go on vacation for a year - a year minimum - before I'm ready to come back."
The 'Silence of the Lambs' star - who has sons Charlie, 19, and Kit, 16, with former partner Cydney Bernard and is married to photographer Alexandra Hedison - frequently takes breaks from her career because she thinks it is important to invest her time in relationships with the people who matter to her.
She said: "Sometimes people say, 'Gosh, you only act once every three years, what have you been doing?' I scratch my head and say, 'What have I been doing? Have I been water-skiing? No. Have I been learning to use the computer? No.'
"There's a lot of time that goes into being a good mother, a good daughter, a good friend. Listening to other people and what they're going through. And saying, 'I can take care of that.' I want to have that time open. If I fill it up with a bunch of trivial things - even things I could make money for - I feel like I won't have time to be the person I hope all this is for. That's what I try to do."