Snoring in kids linked to behavioral problems later

By Shayna Brouker • Published: November 28th, 2012
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Snoring is cute when kids do it, but it’s not normal … and it could be the precursor to screams and temper tantrums down the road. A study published in the journal Pediatrics found that tots who snore loudly at age 2 were more likely to act out at age 3.

The problems include hyperactivity, trouble paying attention and depression. The culprit? Classic sleep deprivation. Snoring obstructs proper breathing and causes restless sleep, leaving little ones cranky in the morning. Interestingly, breastfeeding seems to help, and the longer moms do it the better.

Sleep is seriously important for growing tots for optimal growth and function. One- to 3-year-olds need twelve to fourteen hours of sleep a day between both night and naptime. They’ll typically hit the hay between seven and nine p.m. and wake up between six and eight.

Besides making tots more cheerful and generally pleasant to be around, sleep seems to be the antidote to many learning and behavioral problems. In fact, kids with higher IQs sleep longer, and good nappers tend to have longer attention spans. On the other hand, lack of sleep can have long-term effects in children’s brains. Babies who sleep less during the daytime tend to throw more fits, be socially demanding and are less able to entertain themselves.

So how can you help your kids catch their Z’s? Be careful not to overschedule them; choose one sport and one activity a year, for example. And steer clear of caffeine, which lurks in soda, iced tea and chocolate. Just one serving can deprive your child of restful sleep. When nightmares knock your child out of dreamland, comfort him or her back to sleep and help them process the underlying issues through drawing or talking the next day.

And if snoring keeps sleep at bay, be sure to bring it up with your pediatrician or family physician.