Sleep is very essential for the growth and development of children because sleep employs a lot of body processes undertaking inside the body when the person is apparently at rest. Among all age groups, infants need the highest amount of sleep and when they don’t get enough of it, they may experience physical as well as emotional repercussions.
Snoring may be seen as a normal event during sleep, but a study suggests that snoring in infants may lead to behavioral and emotional problems.
What Happens During Snoring?
Snoring usually happens when there is a disruption in the airways such as in the case of cough and colds, nasal congestion, increased size of the adenoids and obstruction of the tongue. Snoring may seem normal, but frequent snoring at night may mean that there is impairment in the flow of oxygen to and from the lungs. As a result, there is lesser oxygenation of the cells in the whole body.
Snoring is also linked to mouth breathing and sleep apnea because when you snore, your airways gets obstructed leading to opening of the mouth in order to breathe easier. Sleep apnea may also be seen, which is one of the main reasons for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
The Effects of Snoring in Children’s Behaviours
The study involved looking into children aged six to 69 months. The researchers observed the relationship between snoring and behavioral problems and the results showed that up to 60% of babies who snore have developed behavioral problems when they got older.
The common behavioral problem seen in children is hyperactivity, which is commonly seen in children who do not get adequate sleep at night.
Snoring leads to decreased oxygenation of the cells in the brain and may also increase the carbon dioxide levels that goes to them. Sleep is essential for restoring the brain’s chemical and cellular homeostasis so reduced oxygenation at night may lead to chemical imbalances leading to hyperactivity.
Aside from behavioral problems, babies who snore at night may also experience emotional problems especially when they reach the adolescence stage. When there is not enough sleep, depression may set it, which may increase mood problems, anxiety disorders and eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa among teens.
Aside from behavioral and emotional effects, lack of sleep due to snoring may also increase the risk for serious health conditions. Some of the health effects of lack of sleep due to snoring include:
1. Increased blood pressure
Once the cells receive less oxygenation, the heart will compensate by pumping more. Consistent snoring may therefore lead to increased blood pressure levels because of increased cardiac contractility.
2. Increased blood sugar levels
Stress from lack of oxygen may increase the production of adrenalin, which will in turn lead to poor insulin production. These events may further eland to increased blood sugar levels and diabetes overtime.
3. Poor nutrition
Children who don’t sleep adequate at night may develop obesity as they grow old. Facts show that people who don’t sleep well at night have increased appetite and reduced satisfaction levels leading to overeating. These events are caused by imbalances in hormone production responsible for food consumption.
Since infants have not yet established the neuronal connections in their brain, lack of sleep and oxygenation from snoring may lead to more serious effects. Nevertheless, when the reasons for snoring are corrected early, children may not experience behavioral, emotional as well as physical repercussions of reduced sleep and oxygenation due to snoring.
This also implicates that parents should ensure ways to promote adequate sleep in their babies because the effects of lack of sleep are similar to that of snoring.
Posted by Pitt Goumas