A long term study published in the Journal Pediatrics early this year warned that infants who exhibited snoring, open mouth breathing, could be at a higher risk of developing emotional and behavioural problems later in life.

Over 11,000 infants were studied in the UK study which began in 1991 and followed the children for 6 years.

The children that showed a history of breathing related sleep problems as babies were shown to be between 40 and 100 % more likely to experience a range of behavioural problems including ADHD, hyperactivity, anxiety, depression and aggressiveness, by the time they reached 7 years old.

The reasons for the correlation between snoring in babies and later behavioural problems are not fully understood but it is thought that that it may have to do with the crucial window of opportunity for early brain development in infants.

When sleep is interrupted, the brains receives less oxygen than it requires and this may lead to disruptions in the development of the pre-frontal cortex, a region of the brain responsible for higher level functions, including regulating emotions.

Infants may be more susceptible to this type of damage as they are still forming neural connection in their brains. The findings suggest that sleep breathing disorder symptoms” may require attention as early as the first year of life.”

Image by Sonya Green

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