Snoring Children At Risk Of Behavioral Problems

By Amir Khan on August 14, 2012 9:40 AM EDT

Child Sleeping
Snoring may seem like just a mild annoyance, but it could be a portent of a larger problem, (Photo: Creative Commons)

Snoring may seem like just a mild annoyance, but it could be a portent of a larger problem, according to a new study, published in the journal Pediatrics. Researchers found that children who snore are more likely have behavioral problems such as aggression and hyperactivity than those who don't.

Looking at 249 mother-child pairs, researchers found that children who snored when they were 2 and 3 years old were nearly 3.5 times more likely to develop behavioral problems than children who did not snore or only snored during one of those years.

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Researchers aren't sure of the exact reason why, but said poor sleep quality likely plays a role.

"We know that if you take away naps for preschoolers, and then give them challenging tasks, they're grumpier," Dean Beebe, study author and director of the neuropsychology program at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, told NBC News.

Researchers also said that poor sleep leads to snoring, and that poor sleep can also inhibit a young child's brain development, which can lead to behavioral disorders.

"We're talking about a brain that is constantly remodeling through early childhood, with connections being strengthened and weakened," Beebe said.

Snoring can also be a symptom of a larger problem, such as sleep apnea.

"Kids who don't sleep well are tired and cranky, and don't eat well," Yosef Krespi, director of the Center for Sleep Disorders at the New York Head and Neck Institute of Lenox Hill Hospital, told WebMD.. "The snoring sound by definition means there is partial airway obstruction during sleep, which can cause poor oxygenation and restless sleep."

Mild snoring is not a cause for concern, researchers said, but if your child does it often, you may want to get them checked out.

"Some snoring is normal, such as when a child has a cold," Beebe told WebMD. "But if you are concerned, speak with your child's pediatrician."

In addition, researchers said breastfeeding can deter a child from snoring when they get older.

"New moms should strongly consider breastfeeding for as long as possible because it can have a strong protective effect against snoring," Beebe said.

Ultimately, parents just need to be aware of the problems, Karen Bonuck, professor of family and social medicine at New York's Albert Einstein College of Medicine, who was not involved in the study, told NBC News.

"Don't dismiss snoring as benign," she said.

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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