Sleep is an imperative part of all of our lives. As adults, we know that if we do not get enough restful sleep, we can feel sluggish and tired the next day. We lack the energy that we need to get things done and make it through a busy day. But is 7 hours of sleep enough for 11-year-old children? We’ll find out!
Not only that, sleep has been shown to have extensive effects on things like metabolism and mental health. Getting less sleep than your body needs can affect the way that your brain produces serotonin. Serotonin is produced in the brain and helps us feel good; without it, we can feel lackadaisical, show a loss of energy, and it can even affect your mood.
The same is true of children. Sleep is vital to children throughout their lives. It’s necessary for having energy throughout the day, to be attentive at school and to handle activities and homework. But sleep is vital for children for a lot more reasons that we may not have been aware of.
What you’re going to learn:
In this article, you’re going to find out everything you need to know about:
- Why is sleep important for children?
- Is 7 hours of sleep enough for an 11-year-old?
- How much sleep does an 11-year-old need?
- How to get your child to sleep more?
Additionally, the sleep habits that we develop as children are likely to follow us into adulthood. If your child does not follow a sleep schedule and is not getting enough sleep each night, those habits usually follow to adulthood. Then, before you know it, you are an adult that is tired each and every day at work. You struggle with your weight and feel too tired to make it through each day.
There are so many aspects of sleep and life that are affected by sleep that the message to families should be far more concise and strong: We shouldn’t underestimate the importance of sleep, especially for children.
Why is sleep important for children?
Aside from the obvious “to have more energy”, there are a number of reasons why getting enough sleep each night is vital for children of all ages. Firstly, it promotes growth. Many studies have shown that growth hormone is secreted primarily during sleep.
A children’s health depends on sleep
It should come as no surprise that researchers studying children with deficient or low levels of growth hormones found something interesting. The children were sleeping less deeply than the average. Somehow there’s a connection between proper growth and sleep. Getting the proper amount of sleep is one of the most imperative factors there is.
Secondly, sleep helps to protect kids from potential vascular damage that is caused by arterial wall-damaging cholesterol and stress hormones. Children with sleep disorders have been shown to have higher cortisol and blood glucose levels at night. This can lead to issues like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Lack of sleep can cause overweight and disbalances hormone levels
Speaking of obesity and diabetes, it has been shown that sleep affects a child’s weight. Getting too little sleep can lead to a child becoming overweight. This can begin in infancy, especially when parents struggle to know when a baby is hungry or in need of being swaddled.
It is shown that sleep deprivation can have a negative impact on the hormone leptin, which lets us know when to stop eating. When that hormone is negatively impacted, children tend to eat far more than they should. Not only that, the lack of sleep causes energy loss which in turn leads to less physical activity. And less activity means lower health and a greater chance of becoming obese.
Proper sleep levels can actually help to reduce a child’s risk of injury as well. When kids don’t get the proper amount of sleep, they become far clumsier and more impulsive, leading them to more accidents than they may otherwise experience. Several studies have shown that children who didn’t get enough sleep had far more accidents than those children who did get enough.
Children learn better when they sleep well
Sleep can also boost learning and have an effect on attention span. Naps, in particular, come into play with this factor. There have been studies that show that children who skipped naps forgot 15% of what they had learned throughout the day but those who napped had retained all of it. They also scored better when tasked with a memory game than those who did not nap.
I guess you now already have a slight idea of the answer to the question “Is 7 hours of sleep enough for 11-year-old children?”.
A child’s attention span, meanwhile, is already notoriously short. But children who get fewer than 10 hours per night at a young age are more likely to develop hyperactivity and have impulsivity problems by age 6. These issues only intensify as the child grows old, especially if bad sleep habits strengthen and become harder to resolve. Kids with ADHD, in particular, seem to have a far more difficult time getting the proper amount of sleep and maintaining that as well.
Is 7 hours of sleep enough for an 11-year-old?
The short answer is that, no, 7 hours of sleep is not enough for an 11-year-old child. This is true for a number of different reasons. The most important of which is that your child will likely lack the energy needed to get through a busy day that involves school, activities, chores, homework, and anything else they can manage to fit into the average day. These sorts of schedules are exhausting enough when we have the proper amount of sleep; too little sleep makes it incredibly difficult to get through the day.
It is also important to remember that all aspects of your child are continuing to develop at age 11. Their brains and bodies both continue to grow and their hormones are beginning to take front and center. When a child is not getting enough sleep, all of these things can be affected.
Mental stability depends on sleep
Without the right amount of sleep, you could see mood swings in your child or a lack of attentiveness, particularly in school. The right amount of sleep fosters growth in the area of emotional stability and mental development. Children have a lot going on in their lives. So you shouldn’t underestimate the mental problems a lack of sleep brings: Depression, concentration issues and decrease in problem solving abilities.
Weight gain of young teenage children
On top of that, the age of 11, boys particularly, kids become bottomless troughs in which to store food. They can eat largely whatever they want because their metabolism is working overtime to burn all of that excess fat away.
But when children do not sleep as much as they need to, it affects their metabolism and there can be a noticeable weight gain. Obviously, sleep alone is not the cause for weight gain but when you couple it with a lack of exercise and poor eating habits, weight can begin to fluctuate.
How much sleep does an 11-year-old need?
This is subject of scientific debate but the consensus is anywhere between 8 and 11 hours of sleep each night. Research in the National Sleep Health Journal (this study) recommends somewhere between 9 and 11 hours each night while NHS UK suggests exactly 9.5 hours each night.
11 year old kids need about 9 to 10 hours of sleep each night
The exact amount will more than likely depend on your child. Every child is different and requires different things, so saying that “eight hours is the exact amount of sleep a kid needs may not be accurate. For some 11-year-olds, it may be closer to 9 or 10 hours.
Finding the right amount of sleep will become obvious when it happens. Kids will wake up with more energy for the day. It allows them to participate in the activities they love as well as manage their school load more effectively.
Working with your child to find the proper amount of sleep is not easy. It can be tricky to find that sweet spot between too much and too little sleep. Even getting too much sleep can leave your child feeling groggy. But when your kid has a proper sleep schedule, it will have more energy to tackle school, activities, homework, and anything else the day has waiting for them.
How to get your child to sleep more?
Obviously, you cannot hold your child down and force them to sleep but there are a number of steps that you can take to ensure that your child is getting the sleep they need to thrive in an activity-filled day. There are a number of things that can be done to not only improve the quality of sleep your child is enjoying but make sure that they are getting a suitable amount as well. Here are a few of them:
Avoid nightly screen time
Perhaps the most important thing, especially in this day and age of screens, is to avoid video games and television at night. Set a cut off time for screen time because the blue light from those screens can hinder and prevent sleep. This can, in turn, lead to more screen time at night, creating a vicious circle that will need to be broken. Managing your child’s screen time at night is perhaps the most important step that you can take to improve their overall sleep quality.
Build a sleep schedule
Setting a sleep schedule is also imperative. When we develop a sleep schedule, our body develops its own internal schedule. This is often why you will hear people saying that they wake up before their alarms go off. Their bodies anticipate it due to their schedule each day. Training your child and setting fixed sleeping times will help to regulate the amount of sleep that your child gets. And also your child learns when it is time for their bodies to relax and rebuild.
Get your kid involved in sports activities
Exercise is another thing that does affect your child’s sleep schedule and the quality of sleep that they are getting. Activities with physical exertion can help to burn off excess energy that kids can accumulate during the day. Not only that, it will help to keep their metabolism pumping. And it will help them wind down towards the end of the day, slipping into sleep far more easily.
Sitting around all day has a number of negative effects on children that have been touched on previously. A lack of activity can have a negative impact on a child’s metabolism, weight, and overall quality of sleep and their ability to get to sleep at regular intervals.
Outdoor activities are great for improving sleep
On the same side of the coin as exercise is outdoor activities. Simply getting outside is important in the development of kids. Not only do they learn from playing with their friends. They also get vitamin D and serotonin from the sun. These are chemicals that affect brain activity. For a reason, people call Serotonin the “happy hormone”. Kids and adults with a lack of serotonin production are more susceptible to mental illnesses such as depression.
A proper diet also plays a factor in the way that kids sleep. A diet of fatty, high-cholesterol foods can make it difficult for kids to achieve truly deep rest. When they are not getting that deep rest, they are not really recuperating properly and their mental development can be hindered.
It is especially important to avoid drinking a lot of liquids or eating before bed. Scientists have proved this to have a negative impact on the quality of sleep. Additionally, if your kid drinks a lot before bed, it will have to get up to go to the toilet. This wakes them up from potential deep sleep cycles causing sleep deprivation.
Make sure your kids are getting enough sleep
It goes without saying that getting enough sleep is an important thing, especially for growing and developing children. There have been numerous examples of the effects that a poor sleep schedule and a lack of sleep can have on a child.
Sleep does not prevent or cure all but it certainly gives your child a leg up in development. And it aids in them being happier in all aspects. An active child especially will benefit from the rejuvenation abilities that sleep provides after the stress of a highly busy day.
Though bedtimes may not seem like a cool thing to them, your kids will be grateful that they built a sleep schedule. It helps them have the energy that they need to live their lives to the fullest extent. Always make sure that your kids are getting the proper amount of sleep that they need to wake up energized and ready to take on the new day.
If you found this helpful and interesting, you can check out more sleep improvements guides here!