Kids who snore -- a lot and loudly -- may also be more likely to have behavioral problems, a small, new study suggests.
Researchers from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center found that kids who have persistent snoring are also more likely to be hyperactive, inattention and have symptoms of depression.
Persistent snoring that lasts for months "can be a sign of real breathing problems at night that are treatable," study researcher Dean Beebe, Ph.D., director of the neuropsychology program at the university, said in a statement. "I encourage parents to talk to their child's doctor about loud snoring, especially if it happens a lot and persists over time."
The Pediatrics study included 249 kids whose sleep and behavioral habits were reported by their mothers. The researchers found a link between loud snoring during ages 2 and 3 and behavioral problems, but no link with not snoring, or snoring at only age 2 or only at age 3.
The researchers found that not breastfeeding, or breastfeeding for only a short while, or having a low socioeconomic status seemed linked with persistent snoring in the study.
"This would suggest that doctors routinely screen for and track snoring, especially in children from poorer families, and refer loudly-snoring children for follow-up care," Beebe said in a statement.
Even though this particular study is small, it comes on the heels of a recent Pediatrics study also showing a link between kids' snoring and behavioral problems -- only that study included more than 13,000 kids, MSNBC reported.
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine found that sleep-disordered breathing -- which can manifest as snoring -- was a predictor of conditions like anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder at age 7, according to MSNBC.
P.J. Skerrett, senior editor at Harvard Health, explained a possible reason for why snoring or sleep-disordered breathing might be linked to these sorts of problems:
The brain does a lot of growing and developing during infancy and childhood. It is possible that nighttime breathing problems during these formative years decrease the supply of oxygen to the brain. That could interfere with the development of pathways that control behavior and mood. It is also possible that breathing problems disturb sleep, and it’s the interrupted or poor sleep by itself that may cause trouble in the developing brain.