Children at high risk for sleep-disordered breathing are more likely to have anxiety, according to research presented Monday at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.
Sleep-disordered breathing refers to a spectrum of breathing disorders, ranging from loud snoring to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition in which the patient stops and starts breathing many times over the course of the night. OSA occurs in about 2 percent of young children.
Researchers from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor surveyed 341 families with a child in second through fifth grade about the child’s behaviour and sleep-related breathing symptoms using two standard screening tests.
They identified 33 children (9.7 per cent) with anxiety and 66 (19.4 per cent) who were at risk for sleep-disordered breathing.
“Preliminary findings,” lead investigator Dr. Shalini Paruthi told Reuters Health, “suggest that children identified to be at risk for sleep-disordered breathing are more likely to be reported as having anxiety than children not at risk for sleep-disordered breathing. Anxiety is known to be associated with hyperactivity, and hyperactivity is commonly observed in children with sleep-disordered breathing; however, even after we accounted for the relationship with hyperactivity, we still found a link between risk for sleep-disordered breathing and anxiety,” Paruthi noted.
“These findings are very preliminary and more research is needed to confirm them, but it is possible that anxiety may be another consequence of untreated sleep disorder breathing in children,” Paruthi concluded.
The News, 11/6/2008