Friday, August 24, 2012

ADD and Sleep Deprivation: What Has Snoring Got to Do with It?

by John and Diane.

According to a recently released study by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, persistent loud snoring in children 2 and 3 years of age can be an indicator of nighttime breathing problems with far-reaching effects.

Loud snoring in young children can predict later conditions in these same children such as anxiety and ADHD (Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity Disorder.) Since the brain does much of its growing during infancy and early childhood, breathing issues like this decrease the amount of oxygen to the brain and can effect the development of the parts of the brain that control behavior and mood.

If addressed immediately, effects can be avoided or minimized, but infants whose snoring goes unchecked, sometimes due to inconsistent doctor visits (often found in lower income families,) children will predictable have some negative effect later in life.

Sleep and the 5-7 Year Old ADHD Kids

Studies have shown that snoring, and other sleep disorders, are still more prevalent amongst these children then children without ADHD.  In some studies kids with ADHD are twice as likely to have sleep disorders as their Non ADHD peers.

Understandably, children whose sleep is disturbed by snoring do significantly poorer in school, and have lower test scores in language abilities, attention tests and overall intelligence.

Some studies have shown that although medications can help, removing the tonsils and adenoids seem to have better results to improve sleep, therefore improving overall behavior in these types of children.

What is a foster parent to do?

If your foster child seems tired during the day, is complaining about not sleeping at night, is falling asleep during the day or at school or you hear him or her snoring at night, take them to the pediatrician for an evaluation. You may be referred to an ear, nose and throat doctor.
ADHD Medications can effect sleep and often keep children awake, so discuss medication changes or taking them in the mornings to troubleshoot nighttime wakefulness.

Talk to the child’s doctor about possible breathing obstructions at his or her next general check up to make sure the child is able to breath and sleep well at night.

If your ADHD child has no physical cause for not sleeping well at night, make sure you are providing the right environment for good sleep. Make sure the child gets plenty of exercise during the day, avoid stimulating activities like playing videogames or watching television immediately before bedtime, make sure the bedroom is dark and quiet and make sure sugar and caffeine is eliminated from his or her diet.  Keep a regular bedtime and morning rise time to regulate sleep.

Do you have any suggestions, comments or thoughts about childhood snoring or sleeplessness and ADD or ADHD? We’d love you to get in on the conversation. 


Image:  Flickr:
AttributionNoncommercial Some rights reserved by Roberta Taylor


  1. My friend and I are starting up a blog to share stories about Foster Care and Adoption, so if you would like to have your story shared on our blog please feel free to e-mail us your story. You can also share some pictures (obviously not your foster kids) if you would like to. We have both adopted through foster care and are hoping by sharing peoples stories we can help to inspire others to look into Fostering and Adopting children in need.

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  3. I never knew that these things could be linked together! I have previously made my partner go through with snoring treatment in Hertfordshire hospital and have had great results.