Researchers say children who snore regularly are more likely to develop behavioral issues and learning disabilities. That’s because snoring children may be experiencing gray matter loss in their brains.
Experts advise parents to make sure their children are in a comfortable bed and sleep in a quiet, dark room.
Is your child a big snorer? If so, it might be time to take them to a specialist — for your sake and theirs.
Children who regularly snore in their sleep may experience gray matter loss in the brain and behavioral issues as a result, a new study from researchers at the University of Maryland finds.
Nearly 1 in 3 childrenTrusted Source snore occasionally, studies suggest, but most of these cases don’t rise to the level of being problematic. However, as many 10 to 12 percent of kids have potentially more serious snoring issues.
Looking at MRI scans of more than 10,000 children ages 9 to 10, the researchers in the latest study reported that those who snored at night more than three times weekly had thinner gray matter in regions of the brain’s frontal lobes as well as in areas of the brain responsible for impulse control and higher reasoning.
“Gray matter is important for development because it is involved with so many complex brain functions in the frontal lobes, such as maintaining attention, organizing your space and time, and other aspects of what is called executive functions,” Ariel A.
Williamson, PhD, DBSM, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a sleep expert for the Pediatric Sleep Council, told Healthline.
“Executive functions develop during childhood and are critical for supporting academic, social-emotional, and behavioral skills.
” Therefore, there may be correlations between snoring at night and an increased lack of focus, learning disabilities, and impulsive behaviors, the researchers say.
“For the first time, we see evidence on brain imaging that measures the toll this common condition can take on a child’s neurological development,” Dr. E. Albert Reece, executive vice president for medical affairs at UM Baltimore as well as professor and dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, told Healthline.
“This is an important finding that highlights the need to properly diagnose snoring abnormalities in children.”
If your child is snoring frequently or otherwise sleeping poorly.