October 31, 2014

Snoring In Children Linked to Behavioural and Emotional Problems

Snoring in ChildrenSnoring in Children, and further sleep-disordered breathing, showed a 72% increase in the risk for behavioural and emotional problems in children by age 7.

A study published in the journal Pediatrics, revealed a problem that may increase children’s risk of behavioural and emotional problems later in life. That problem is snoring in children. It is thought that sleeping problems may harm the developing brain at this critical point in their lives.

The U.S. study followed 13,000 children from their birth to seven years of age. Parents reported snoring in children or further nighttime breathing problems in 65 percent of the children at some point during their early years.

The results of lead researcher Karen Bonuck’s study at the New York Albert Einstein College of Medicine showed 8% of the subjects were placed in a worst scenario group as their breathing problems grew strong between 2 and 3 years of age and continued as they grew. The results showed by age 7, approximately 18% of the worst scenario snoring in children group had possible behavioural or emotional disorders.

In the children outside of the worst case group, 13.5% had symptoms of disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or symptoms of anxiety by the time they reached 7 years of age. For those who had no signs of snoring in children, only 8% showed the same symptoms by age 7.

There have been studies on the subject before, but none of this scale. Bonuck said they used a range of factors such as parent education, parent income, race, weight at birth, smoking during pregnancy, etc…. to rule out variables that could interfere. According to Bonuck “Even considering all those variables, overall, sleep-disordered breathing seemed to have the strongest effect.”

Of course snoring in children does not mean your child will definitely have emotional and behavioural disorders. Bonuck does not want parents to worry is they are experiencing this issue. She suggested “Certainly, emotional and behavioral disorders are multi-factorial.”

It is estimated that one in ten children regularly snore. Marianne Davey from the British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Society believes sleep problems often result in an ADHD label to a child. “Often parents won’t make the connection and mention them to the GP, so this label of ADHD is given to the child, and sometimes they are even given drugs. This is wrong, as if the sleep problem is addressed, the behaviour will improve almost immediately.”

If snoring in children is a concern in your household, make sure you keep tabs on it. If you are worried don’t forget to mention the problem to your doctor.

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