The family that snores together may be losing sleep together.

A new study shows children of parents who snore are three times more likely to snore themselves and may be at increased risk of developing behavioral problems such as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and other snoring-associated health problems.

Researchers also found that children who test positive for allergies are also twice as likely to snore frequently as other children.

Snoring May Be Inherited

In the study, published in the journal Chest, researchers evaluated the prevalence of frequent snoring and related risk factors among a group of nearly 700 1-year-old children.

The results showed that 15 percent of the children snored three times or more each week, and frequent childhood snoring was related to several risk factors:

—Children with at least one parent who snored frequently were three times as likely to also be frequent snorers compared with children of silent sleepers.

—African-American children were three times more likely to snore frequently than other children.

—Children who tested positive for allergies were more than twice as likely to be frequent snorers.

The study also looked at whether exposure to secondhand smoke was related to frequent snoring risk among the children but found no link.

Researchers say few studies have been conducted on infants and snoring, but studies on older children and adults suggest that frequent snoring can lead to behavioral problems, cognitive deficits, and heart disease.

Snoring is also a common symptom of obstructive sleep disordered breathing, and researchers say children who snore frequently should be evaluated by a sleep specialist.

By Jennifer Warner, reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

SOURCES: Kalra, M. Chest, April 2006; vol 129: pp 942-946. News release, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.