Lack of sleep can affect different parts of your body in various ways.

We have all heard that it is important to get enough sleep. This is so for many reasons beyond that it will just make you feel better and less tired during the day. Lack of sleep can affect different parts of your body in various ways.

Insufficient sleep has been linked to a variety of chronic diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Getting the appropriate amount of sleep is often important in managing these diseases if you already have them. Getting proper sleep also helps your brain function at a higher level.

There is research showing that being well rested improves learning. Sleep is also involved in the healing and repair of the pulmonary system.

Children need to get a lot of sleep, especially if they are growing. Deep sleep triggers the body’s release of a hormone that promotes growth. This hormone also helps repair tissues and boost muscle growth.

Sleeping well at night also helps your performance and function during the day. Those who do get enough sleep are more productive at work or school, make fewer mistakes, have quicker reaction time, and finish tasks quicker.

Getting proper sleep also greatly reduces your risk of being in a car accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control, it is estimated that drivers being sleepy contributes to about 100,000 car wrecks per year. They also estimate that around 1,500 deaths result from these crashes.

How much sleep is enough sleep? That varies based on your age and lifestyle, but there are some general guidelines you can follow.

The CDC recommends newborns get 16-18 hours per day, pre-school age get 11-12 hours, school age get 10 or more, teens 9-10, and adults including the elderly 7-8 hours. If you sleep more on days off than you normally do on a work or school day, this may be a sign that you aren’t getting enough.

Making sure you get enough sleep is an important part of taking care of yourself and contributes greatly to your overall wellness.

Tyler Glidden is the wellness director for the McPherson Family YMCA. He has a bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion and Wellness and a master’s degree in Exercise Science.