Snoring in children is more than just noise. It seems snoring is linked to behavior problems as well. At least that’s what researchers from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center claim.
Every parent knows that sleep is important for kids. But there’s more to it than the number of hours children spend sleeping. It’s about getting quality sleep. And loud snoring in young children indicates the opposite.
“It’s not like in the cartoons, where snoring is what signifies sleep”, reads a statement for NBC of the lead study author Dean Beebe, director of the neuropsychology program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. The problem is that this habit may cause many kinds of behavioral problems later on.
The study suggests that kids who snore are more likely to develop hyperactivity, inattention or even depression. Beebe and his team looked at 249 mother and child pairs at ages 2 and 3. They asked the parents about their kids’ snoring and compared the findings. The conclusion was pretty grim: kids who snore are 3.5 times more likely to have behavioral issues.
It also seems that most young snorers were not breast-fed as babies and that they come from a lower socioeconomic class. “Children of lower socioeconomic status face a number of risk factors, from worse air quality to poor nutrition that may make it harder for them to sleep soundly” Beebe said.
The exact reason why snoring causes these problems is not known, but it has to do with the brain not getting enough oxygen during sleep. And experts say that the young brain “is constantly remodeling through early childhood, with connections being strengthened and weakened”.
The study is small, but its conclusions are in line with a recent Pediatrics research that proved the same thing. However, this study included more than 13000 kids, so the results are hard to doubt.
We shouldn’t get too worried, though. Behavioral problems can arise only with snoring for long periods of time. In the short term, as in the case of a cold, this is not problematic. Still, parents should keep an eye out, because the dangers are real.