Children who snore are at greater risk of developing reduced intellectual abilities, high blood pressure and poor behaviours than sound sleepers. Disturbing new research by Monash University reveals that snoring in children is leading to far more harm than missed snooze time because lower oxygen levels during the night can affect a child’s cardiovascular and neurocognitive abilities. The study of more than 260 children found that the blood pressure in child snorers was 10 per cent higher than children who don’t snore. MRI scans also revealed significant changes to the brain of children who snore which can lead to reduced mental abilities and poor behaviour. With approximately 1 million Australian children snoring, Monash University Professor Rosemary Horne has warned parents snoring is not a harmless process their kids will outgrow. Professor Horne says snoring will affect how children behave and learn at school as well as their blood pressure. The most common treatment for problem snoring is the removal of adenoids and tonsils. The study of 136 children aged 7-12 and 128 aged 3-5 revealed their blood pressure had improved after treatment however Professor Horne warns although these children showed improvement, they were still behind their classmates who had never snored. “What we want to know now is if you treat these children, whether the deficits we see in the brain can be repaired,” Professor Horne said. Full results of the Monash study will be presented at the Associated Professional Sleep Societies meeting in Boston this June. Prof Horne hopes the study will convince more parents to have their children referred for sleep studies before the damage is done.
Updated 19 April 2017