Hyperactivity linked to sleep disorders

More than 11,000 children enrolled in the UK Avon longitudinal study were followed for six years, providing the strongest evidence to date that sleep-disordered breathing can have “serious behavioural and social-emotional consequences”, researchers said.

The study found that children who were snorers, mouth-breathers or had apnoea were 40–100% more likely than their peers to develop neuro­behavioural problems by the time they turned seven years of age.

The children whose symptoms peaked early – by 18 months – were most likely to experience problems in early primary school and those having severe symptoms at age three years tended to develop the most serious behavioural problems later, the researchers said.

The most striking effect was on hyperactivity, but other measures linked to sleep problems included anxiety and depression, aggression or other conduct issues, and difficulty with peers and prosocial, sharing