Loud Snoring in Preschool Children Linked to Increased Risk for Behavioral Problems

snoring child

Last April ABC’s Diane Sawyer reported on a study in the journal Pediatrics which revealed the dangers of Sleep-Disordered Breathing in infants and toddlers. According to the study, infants and toddlers who experienced recurring instances of sleep-disordered breathing were between 40% and 60% more likely than their peers to have behavioral problems at age 7.1A new study, however, takes this research a step further by specifically examining the link between the amount of snoring in preschool aged children—2 to 3 years of age—and the increased likelihood of behavioral problems. The results of the new study from ABC (shown in the video here http://abcnews.go.com/Health/video/snoring-preschoolers-lead-behavioral-problems-17006427) confirm that childhood snoring is an issue that cannot be ignored.

The study2, first published in the journal Pediatrics, had 249 mother/child participants. The parents were asked to observe the instances of loud snoring observed each week. Based on the amount of snoring, the children were divided into three categories:

  • Non-snorers: those who snored less than once per week
  • Transient snorers: those who snored more than two times a week at 2 or 3
  • Persistent snorers: those who snored more than two times a week at both 2 and 3

Aside from monitoring their child’s snoring, parents also completed behavior questionnaires. These questionnaires focus on 4 main areas of behavior: hyperactivity, aggression, depression, and inattention.

The study’s findings show that persistent snorers have a much higher rate of behavioral problems than their transient and non-snoring peers. According to study results, persistent snorers are 35% more likely to be at risk for behavioral problems. Doctors believe this connection is due in part to oxygen restrictions associated with snoring. Snoring is an indication that a child’s airway is not working as well as it should and that the brain is not getting the amount of oxygen it requires, which is crucial for proper development.

While the information in the new study is daunting, it also provides hope and insight for early detection of sleeping problems in children.  Researchers conclude that the study’s results “support routine screening and tracking of snoring” in young children and indicate the need for “referral[s] for follow-up care of persistent snoring…”

Sleep Medicine experts can offer a variety of treatment options specifically tailored for children. If you think your child may be a persistent or transient snorer, FusionSleep® is here to help. FusionSleep®, Atlanta’s only comprehensive Sleep Medicine program, specializes in treating all types of sleep disorders for patients of all ages. Nationally accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, FusionSleep’s Pediatric Sleep Medicine experts can ensure your child gets the sleep their developing brains and bodies need.  Call us today to book an appointment.

1Bonuck et al, (2012). Sleep-disordered breathing in a population-based cohort: Behavioral  outcomes at 4 and 7 years. Pediatrics129(4), doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-1402

2Beebe et al, (2012). Persistent snoring in preschool children: Predictors and behavioral and developmental correlates. Pediatrics, 130(3), doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-0045