Dangerous dreams: new Monash research reveals the health consequences of children’s snoring


New research from Monash University – that will continue to be undertaken at the newly opened Monash Children’s Hospital - reveals this snoring is not harmless but may have long term cardiovascular, neurocognitive and behavioural implications.

Up to 30 per cent of children snore, with pre-schoolers more likely to be affected than older children. Approximately five per cent of children will suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), when the airways briefly collapse during sleep, blood oxygen levels fall and sleep is disrupted. Most Australian parents believe their child’s snoring is harmless and something they will grow out of.

Monash Professor Rosemary Horne and her team studied 136 children aged 7-12 years and 128 children aged 3-5 years to examine the consequences of snoring and OSA. Children were then followed up three to four years later to examine the effects of treatment or resolution of symptoms.

The team found that pre-school children who snore had normal blood pressure and neurocognitive development but had increased reports of poor behaviour. The older, school aged children (7-12 years) had:

  • Increased blood pressure of 10-15 mmHg
  • Increased reports of poor behaviour
  • Reduced intellectual ability

When they were followed up, any improvement in severity of snoring or OSA was associated with improvements in bl