Link between a child’s abnormal breathing during sleep with behavioral, emotional and relationship troubles


Albert Einstein College of Medicine


Karen Bonuck, PhD, professor of family and social medicine,of obstetrics & gynecology and women’s health, and of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine


This is the strongest evidence to date that snoring, mouth breathing and apnea (abnormally long pauses in breathing during sleep) can have serious behavioral and social-emotional consequences for children. Sleep disordered breathing (SDB) causes (reduced oxygen and increased carbon dioxide), interferes with sleep’s restorative processes, and disrupts cellular and chemical  balances— which together affect the prefrontal cortex.  The prefrontal cortex governs executive functioning (i.e., being able to pay attention, plan ahead and organize), the ability to suppress behavior, and the ability to self-regulate emotion and arousal.