Does the School Bully Snore?
It’s well documented that snoring wreaks havoc on the body over time. What is also known is that the sleep deprivation associated with snoring can have significant impact on the mind in that it can impair brain function and emotions. What there is little known about, however, is the effect of snoring and its associated daytime fatigue on children. A start to this understanding was reported this month in the New York Times when they highlighted a new study from the University of Michigan that showed that classroom bullies and disruptive students are two times as likely to have symptoms of snoring, or sleep-disordered breathing.
The study involved collecting data from 341 elementary school children. Each child’s parent reported their child’s sleeping habits. Teachers and parents were also asked to evaluate any behavioral issues that the children might have. It was discovered that one-third of the children were reported to have bullying tendencies or disruptive behavior. Of the bullies and classroom disrupters, half were reported to also have snoring or sleep-disordered breathing issues.
The findings suggest that a new way to solve school bullying should be explored. Whereas now it focuses on raising awareness and attempting to protect the victims, this new report suggests that the problem may be better solved, at least partially, by paying attention to health issues associated with aggressive behavior, such as sleep deprivation.
Considering that common daytime symptoms of snoring include irritability and an impairment of cognitive function, it is understandable how children who suffer from sleep deprivation find it difficult to make quick decisions or judge situations clearly. There are many more quality of life issues that snoring affects in children and adults alike. In addition to irritability and impaired cognition, daytime sleepiness symptoms also include:
- Lethargy, which make even the simplest tasks seem difficult
- Impaired coordination
- Blurred vision
- A compromised immune system
- A resistance of insulin, leading to diabetes
- If snoring is caused by sleep apnea, higher risks of heart and lung disease, obesity and stroke.
Perhaps reading the results of this study will encourage parents to make sure their children have better sleeping habits, and if their child snores, will seek treatment. It’s important for parents to understand that as a 2010 study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that even five consecutive nights of four hours or less of sleep per night has the same negative effects on the brain and body than total sleep deprivation in adults. Considering a child’s brain is still developing, sleep deprivation might have even more dire consequences for them.
Lead author and the assistant professor of sleep medicine at the University of Michigan, Louise O’Brien, pointed out that this study can’t definitively prove a link between bullying and sleep deprivation. However “we’re living in a 24-hour society, sleep is the first thing that gets lost,” she said.
It’s clear that good sleep habits are important to the healthy development of children. This study underscores our belief that sleep deprivation has a great impact on behavior and hopefully parents will heed the warning. Visit Science Direct’s website to read more from the University of Michigan study.
>> back to top
Comments are closed