Study links persistent and loud snoring in young children with problem behaviors

Persistent and loud snoring in young children is associated with problem behaviors, according to a new study published online in Pediatrics.

These behaviors include hyperactivity, depression and inattention, according to Dean Beebe, PhD, director of the neuropsychology program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and lead author of the study.

“The strongest predictors of persistent snoring were lower socioeconomic status and the absence or shorter duration of breastfeeding,” says Dr. Beebe. “This would suggest that doctors routinely screen for and track snoring, especially in children from poorer families, and refer loudly-snoring children for follow-up care. Failing to screen, or taking a ‘wait and see’ approach on snoring, could make preschool behavior problems worse. The findings also support the encouragement and facilitation of infant breastfeeding.”

The study is believed to be the first to examine the relationship between the persistence of snoring and behavior problems in preschool-age children. Persistent, loud snoring occurs in approximately one of every 10 children.

Dr. Beebe and colleagues at Cincinnati Children’s studied 249 children. The researchers surveyed the children’s moms about their kids’ sleep and behaviors. The study showed that children who snored loudly at least twice a week at the age of 2 and 3 had more behavior problems than children who either don’t snore or who snored at 2 or 3 but not at both ages.

“A lot of kids snore every so often, and cartoons make snoring look cute or funny. But loud snoring that lasts for months is not normal, and anything that puts young kids at that much risk for behavioral problems is neither cute nor funny,” says Dr. Beebe. “That kind of snoring can be a sign of real breathing problems at night that are treatable. I encourage parents to talk to their child’s doctor about loud snoring, especially if it happens a lot and persists over time.”

Infant breastfeeding, especially over longer periods of time, seemed to protect children against persistent snoring, even after taking into account other factors, including family income.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Jean Nystrom:

    Many of my patients have found a very marked progress in brain oxygenation by only following instructions helping them to inhale and exhale deeply through specific periods of time throughout the day.
    Maybe this would be of help for you and your daughter.

  2. I believe that snoring can cause hyperactivity and loss of attention. Snoring causes a lack of oxygen to the brain which could lead to behavior changes. My daughter has ADHD and if she does not get a good night sleep her behavior the next day can be unbearable! I have found the program Play Attention (www.playattention.com) and I have seen immediate results with her. The program is based on the concept that the brain has the capacity to grow and change. Even when she is irritable, the program redirects her brain into being calm and focused. We use it before she gets on the bus in the morning and use it during her homework at night.

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