Could Behavioral Problems Arise from Snoring?
One of the scariest things to imagine for any parent is the possibility that something that occurs in the early years in the lives of their children could impact their future. There are many factors that come to mind as potential causes, but in this situation, we are talking about snoring. There is proof that snoring problems as a child can lead to behavioral issues later in life.
For many parents, the idea of their child snoring is one that isn’t possible. Their children sleep peacefully, tucked in under their warm blankets with their pacifier or bottle in their mouth. While that is the life for many children, it isn’t the case for all. On the flip side, there are children that struggle to breathe at night, snore or in the worst case scenario, actually stop breathing. One of the first times a study examining the correlation between snoring and behavioral problems was published in 2012 by Pediatrics. What they found was a frightening thought for many parents. Their study saw that those children with sleep-related breathing problems had an increased chance of becoming overly aggressive, anxious, hyperactive or depressed in their pre-teen years.
For adults, snoring is known to cause daytime sleepiness, as well as other serious health conditions like heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea. These problems and ailments are well-cataloged throughout time, but the effect of snoring on children hasn’t been known as much until now.
Between April 1991 and December 1992, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York tracked the development of more than 11,000 children from Southwest New England. From time to time, the parents of those children were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their health and any behavior changes. The study found that about half of those children being tracked had problems breathing at one in one form or another. There have been other studies though that have put that total a lot lower, in the 5% to 10% range.
One of the key facts found in the study was that for children, six months or older, that experienced breathing problems while sleeping were more likely to experience behavior or even emotional issues by the time they reached the age of seven, or the second grade, than those with no reported breathing issues. The study characterizes trouble breathing as snoring, apnea and mouth breathing. For those unfamiliar with the term apnea, it is the actual pause in breathe that you experience when snoring. When this apnea lasts an extended period of time, you will suddenly wake up and have the gasping feeling. This occurs because the oxygen level in your brain drops and it sends a message to your body to “get up now.”
How is There a Correlation?
You would expect kids that have sleeping problems at night to experience many of the same problems as adults including being tired, cranky or restless. You may have never thought that snoring and other breathing problems could lead to behavioral problems, so why exactly does this happen?
When you are getting older, you entire body grows. Your bones grow and you become taller. The arms become longer and you naturally begin to develop into an adult. The same goes for your brain. Your brain grows a lot when you are a baby and by experiencing breathing problems that could lead to an oxygen deprived brain, your brain won’t be in an ideal position to grow. This could also play an important role in the pathways of the brain that control things like mood and behavior. There is also a belief that breathing problems can bother your sleep and when this happens, the lack of sleep that could impact the growth in the brain of your child.
Should I get my Child Treatment?
To answer this question, you need to try and determine the cause of the snoring or breathing problems in your child. Many of them will be the same as why adults snore at night. It could be they are getting over a cold or have the flu, have bad allergies, be overweight or even enlarged tonsils or adenoids. Depending on what the cause of your snoring is, there are different treatment options available to you. For many of these causes, their body should be able to naturally heal and make the entire process simpler. For those causes that require some treatment, you should ensure that you are having them treated with the correct method. Snoring because of dry air or dust are possible reasons and don’t need to be treated with anything other than a humidifier and a dust mop.
The moral of the story is that as a parent, you need to check in on your children while they sleep. If you notice your child has prolonged snoring or even stops breathing from time to time, you should speak with your doctor immediately. Instead of speaking to their doctor, parents should even record the sleeping behavior of their child so they doctor can get a better grasp of what is happening.