Kids who snore may be more likely to have behavioral problems, but that may not be all. A new study, published in Pediatrics this month, found that children with sleep problems through the age of 5 were more likely to require special education by age 8.
Karen Bonuck, a professor of family and social medicine at Yeshiva University's Albert Einstein School of Medicine, led the study that gathered data from 11,049 children with sleep-disordered breathing -- a general term covering snoring and sleep apnea -- and 11,467 children with behavioral sleep problems. Bonuck found that children with one of these disorders were 30 percent more likely to need special education, while children with behavioral sleep problems, such as bedtime refusal or delayed sleep onset, were an additional 7 percent more likely to require speciality courses.
"What we found was that absolutely both behavioral and respiratory problems did increase the likelihood of special education," Bonuck told CBS News' HealthPop. "The take home from this is we need to be looking at these breathing and behavioral sleep problems at very young ages in these children."
The research follows from an earlier study led by Bonuck, published in Pediatrics in March, that linked sleep disorders in young children to the development of behavioral problems such as hyperactivity and aggressiveness.
"This is the strongest evidence to date that snoring, mouth breathing, and apnea can have serious behavioral and social-emotional consequences for children," Bonuck said in a statement.
Though Bonuck's new study does not prove cause and effect, sleep problems in young children may lead to a host of other issues outside the behavioral realm, including special education needs.
"We've got a generation of children potentially at risk from long-term developmental deficits that might occur from these sleep problems," Bonuck told HealthDay. "Parents need to be vigilant."
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A great night's sleep can depend on the comfort you feel in your bedroom environment. Many sleep experts say that a cool room, somewhere around 65 degrees, makes for the best sleep. The feel of your mattress, pillows, sheets and pajamas affects the quality of your sleep. Your mattress should be comfortable and supportive so that you wake up feeling rested, not achy or stiff. For more on how your mattress, sheets and pillows affect your sleep and how to dress for sleep, <a href="http://bedroom.sleepfoundation.org/touch.php" target="_hplink">click over to the National Sleep Foundation</a>.
A great night's sleep can depend on the visual conditions in your bedroom environment. Have you ever woken up just minutes before your alarm goes off and marveled at your body's sense of time? Humans (and most living creatures) have an internal clock that mirrors nature's cycles of day and night. Sunlight detected by cells in the retina of the eye sends messages to the brain that keep us in a roughly 24-hour pattern. Light in the bedroom (as well as light peeking in from outside) has an impact on the quality of your sleep. Scientists are now finding that light from electronics has the potential to disrupt sleep, because it sends alerting signals to the brain. For more on making your room dark, including keeping gadgets out of the bedroom, <a href="http://bedroom.sleepfoundation.org/see.php" target="_hplink">click over to the National Sleep Foundation</a>. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ex_magician/4153722507/" target="_hplink">ex_magician</a></em>
Are noises keeping you awake? While you sleep, your brain continues to register and process sounds on a basic level. Noise can jostle your slumber -- causing you to wake, move, shift between stages of sleep or experience a change in heart rate and blood pressure -- so briefly that you don't remember the next morning. Interestingly, whether or not a sound bothers your sleep depends in part on that sound's personal meaning: Researchers have seen that people are more likely to wake when a sound is relevant or emotionally charged. This is why, for example, a parent could sleep soundly through her partner's snores but wake fully when her baby fusses. For more on white noise, television and managing noise pollution, <a href="http://bedroom.sleepfoundation.org/hear.php" target="_hplink">click over to the National Sleep Foundation</a>.
What you breathe while you sleep can affect how you feel the next day. Surrounding yourself with a scent you like could help you drift off, and there is some evidence that certain smells may decrease heart rate and blood pressure, potentially putting you in a more relaxed state. In a recent poll, roughly three quarters of people said they get a <a href="http://www.sleepfoundation.org/sites/default/files/bedroompoll/NSF_Bedroom_Poll_Report.pdf" target="_hplink">more comfortable night's sleep on sheets with a fresh scent</a>. For more on how allergies affect sleep, <a href="http://bedroom.sleepfoundation.org/smell.php" target="_hplink">click over to the National Sleep Foundation</a>. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gliuoo/2300581450/" target="_hplink">gliuoo</a></em>
In the hours before bed, what you eat and drink can affect your sleep. Foods that may upset your stomach, such as fatty, fried or spicy foods, are best avoided before sleep. Alcohol might help you <em>fall</em> asleep, but it can actually make it harder to sleep through the night and should be avoided in the hours before bed. Caffeine's effect on the body lasts many hours, so it is best not to consume it after the mid-afternoon. For more on what you should and shouldn't eat before bed, <a href="http://bedroom.sleepfoundation.org/taste.php" target="_hplink">click over to the National Sleep Foundation</a>. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulaloe/148138443/" target="_hplink">paulaloe</a></em>
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