A new Swedish study indicates that children who habitually snore have an increased risk of having trouble concentrating and learning difficulties.
Periodic snoring in children is not unusual. But, when snoring becomes persistent and the child experiences sleep apnea, sleep quality is affected. This, in turn, can lead to problems with daytime tiredness, concentration and learning difficulties, bed-wetting and delayed growth. The problem may be completely ignored because many parents of children that snore are not aware of the possible risks.
The Swedish population study, conducted at Sahlgrenska Academy, studied the occurrence of snoring and sleep apnea in 1,300 children ranging in age from birth to 11 years. It found that approximately five percent of the examined children snored several times a week. Despite pronounced snoring, only about one third of the parents of the snoring children had sought medical help for their problem.
“Children with persistent snoring often have a reduced quality of life. In particular, this applies to children who have sleep apnea,” says Gunnhildur Gudnadottir, Researcher at Sahlgrenska Academy.
“The study shows that awareness is low regarding the negative effects of breathing disturbances during sleep on children’s health and that most parents are not aware that this is something that should be investigated. An obvious result of the study is that we must consider how parents are given information about the condition and where they can seek help” says Gunnhildur Gudnadottir.
The most common reason for snoring in children are enlarged tonsils or adenoids. In these cases, snoring can often be cured or reduced with surgery.
The Gothenburg researchers’ advice is that children with severe recurrent snoring and sleep apnea should turn to a healthcare center for medical evaluation.