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Kids With Dogs May Become Snorers

Study Shows Pets, Childhood Illness May Up Snoring Risk
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Aug. 21, 2008 -- Childhood risk factors, including exposure to dogs and respiratory infections, can boost the chances of snoring later in a life, according to a team of researchers.

"Early-life environments can affect if you are a snorer or not later in life," Karl Franklin, MD, PhD, the study's lead author and a physician at University Hospital in Umea, Sweden. The study is published in Respiratory Research.

But other experts familiar with the study findings say more research is needed. Even Franklin acknowledges that the research is no reason to give up the idea of childhood pets.

Franklin and a team of Nordic researchers polled men and women ages 25 to 54 -- all residents of Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and Estonia -- and got responses from 15,556.

Researchers asked them about their childhood, such as whether they had a dog or other pets, whether they were hospitalized for respiratory infections before age 2, and whether they had recurrent ear infections. They asked about family size, parental education, and mothers' ages.

Then they asked if participants currently snored. They found that 18%, or 2,851, were habitual snorers -- defined as loud and disturbing snoring at least three nights per week.

Risk Factors for Snoring

They found that four childhood factors were independently associated with later snoring:

  • Being hospitalized for a respiratory infection before age 2 boosted the risk of later snoring by 1.27 times.
  • Suffering from recurrent ear infections as a child raised the risk 1.18 times.
  • Growing up in a family with more than five members increased risk 1.04 times.
  • Exposure to a dog in the home as a newborn boosted risk of later snoring 1.26 times

Franklin decided to look at early exposures and later risk of snoring, following a trend in medical research of looking at how many adult diseases, such as cardiovascular and diabetes, can be traced to childhood experiences and exposures.

Exactly why the exposures he found associated with snoring ups the risk is not known, he says.

"Perhaps these things, like dogs, infection, might increase the size of the tonsils," he says, and that in turn might boost the risk of snoring.

Second Opinion

A sleep medicine expert, Lisa Shives, MD, medical director of Northshore Sleep Medicine in Evanston, Ill., says the study findings need to be researched much more.

"This doesn't say much to me," she says of the findings. Early infection is the most feasible of the risk factors associated with boosting snoring risk, she says. "It's not clear how the dog and the large family is associated with snoring."

The two known major risk factors for snoring, she says, are obesity and the structure of the throat in individuals.

The infection exposure and the dog exposure are the links to snoring that make the most sense, says another expert, Christopher C. Randolph, MD, associate clinical professor at the Yale Center for Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in Waterbury, Conn. "Certainly individuals who are exposed to severe airway episodes, have recurrent [ear infections], live in large families where infection is common, and have a dog may be more likely to develop an immunologic ... response in the airways leading to tonsillar and or adenoid [enlargement] and narrowing of the airway leading to snoring," he says.

He also calls for more study. And Franklin stresses that more research is needed before advising parents to do anything. "I think we should do more studies before we take the dogs away."

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Since you usually get too little sleep, please talk to your doctor about your sleep patterns. Poor quality sleep can affect many areas of your life and health, and your doctor may be able to help you if you have difficulty sleeping, have insomnia, or have other sleep disorders.

Learn more about the health consequences of sleep loss. If you're concerned about having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, assess your risk for a sleep disorder.

It's not surprising you feel that you're not functioning at your best today. Some people say they can function on four to six hours of sleep each night, but research shows that adults who get fewer than seven hours of sleep — whether for just one night or over the course of days, weeks, or months — have more difficulty concentrating and more mood problems than people who sleep seven to nine hours.

It's good that you usually do get more sleep, since sleep deprivation can have both short- and long-term consequences. Learn more about the health consequences of sleep loss. And if you're concerned about having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, assess your risk for a sleep disorder.

You say you are able to function well with fewer than seven hours of sleep. Some people say they can function on four to six hours of sleep each night, but research shows that adults who get fewer than seven hours of sleep — whether for just one night or over the course of days, weeks, or months — have more difficulty concentrating and more mood problems than people who sleep seven to nine hours.

It's good that you usually do get more sleep because sleep deprivation can have both short- and long-term consequences. Learn more about the health consequences of sleep loss. And if you're concerned about having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, assess your risk for a sleep disorder.

It's not surprising you feel that you're not functioning at your best today. Some people say they can function on four to six hours of sleep each night, but research shows that adults who get fewer than seven hours of sleep — whether for just one night or over the course of days, weeks, or months — have more difficulty concentrating and more mood problems than people who sleep seven to nine hours.

Since you usually get less sleep, please talk to your doctor about your sleep patterns. Poor quality sleep can affect many areas of your life and health, and your doctor may be able to help you if you have difficulty sleeping or have insomnia or other sleep disorders.

Learn more about the health consequences of sleep loss. If you're concerned about having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, assess your risk for a sleep disorder.

It's wonderful that you got a good night's sleep last night. Many people struggle to do so. Having a good sleep routine often is the key to getting the quality sleep night after night that your body needs for optimal health. Whether your sleep routine involves taking a warm bath, reading a book, or meditating, it's important to keep your bedtime and routine consistent every night and wake up around the same time every morning.

Click here to read more about the importance of sleep. If you're concerned about having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much, assess your risk for a sleep disorder.

It's unfortunate you're not functioning at your best today. You say you had a good quantity of sleep last night, but maybe the quality of your sleep is not as good as it could be? Having a good sleep routine — including a consistent bedtime and wake time — often is the key to getting the quality sleep night after night that your body needs for optimal health. Since you usually sleep this amount, if you often aren't feeling your best, you should consider talking to your doctor. Could you have an underlying condition? Are you feeling anxious or depressed? Have you taken medication that disrupted your sleep? Do you or could you have sleep apnea? Or do you naturally require a little bit more sleep?

Although sleep is crucial for optimal health, some research suggests that sleeping too much can also have negative consequences. Learn more about sleep. If you're concerned about having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much, assess your risk for a sleep disorder.

It's unfortunate you're not functioning at your best today. You say you had a good quantity of sleep last night, but maybe the quality of your sleep is not as good as it could be? Having a good sleep routine — including a consistent bedtime and wake time — often is the key to getting the quality sleep night after night that your body needs for optimal health. Since you usually sleep longer, if you often aren't feeling your best, you should consider talking to your doctor. Could you have an underlying condition? Are you feeling anxious or depressed? Have you taken medication that disrupted your sleep? Do you or could you have sleep apnea? Or do you naturally require a little bit more sleep?

Although sleep is crucial for optimal health, some research suggests that sleeping too much can also have negative consequences. Learn more about sleep. If you're concerned about having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much, assess your risk for a sleep disorder.

It's wonderful that you got a good night's sleep last night. Many people struggle to do so. Having a good sleep routine often is the key to getting the quality sleep night after night that your body needs for optimal health. Whether your sleep routine involves taking a warm bath, reading a book, or meditating, it's also important to keep bedtime consistent and wake up around the same time every morning.

Although sleep is crucial for optimal health, some research suggests that sleeping too much can have negative consequences. Learn more about sleep. If you're concerned about having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much, assess your risk for a sleep disorder.

It's unfortunate you're not functioning at your best today. You say you had a good quantity of sleep last night, but maybe the quality of your sleep is not as good as it could be? Having a good sleep routine — including a consistent bedtime and waking up at the same time — often is the key to getting the quality sleep night after night that your body needs for optimal health.

Since you usually get less sleep, please talk to your doctor about your sleep patterns. Poor quality sleep can affect many areas of your life and health, and your doctor may be able to help you if you have insomnia, another sleep disorder, or conditions affecting your sleep.

Learn more about the health consequences of sleep loss. If you're concerned about having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, assess your risk for a sleep disorder.

It's wonderful that you got a good night's sleep last night. Many people struggle to do so. Having a good sleep routine often is the key to getting the quality sleep night after night that your body needs for optimal health.

Since you usually get less sleep, talk to your doctor about your sleep patterns. Poor quality sleep can affect many areas of your life and health, and your doctor may be able to help you if you have insomnia or another sleep disorder or conditions affecting your sleep.

Learn more about the health consequences of sleep loss. If you're concerned about having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, assess your risk for a sleep disorder.

SOURCES:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Effect of short sleep duration on daily activities--United States, 2005-2008. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2011; 60:239.

Carskadon, MA, Dement, WC. Normal Human Sleep: An Overview. In: Principles and Practices of Sleep Medicine, Fifth, Kryger, MH, Roth, et al. (Eds), Elsevier Saunders, St. Louis, MO 2011. p.16.

Harvard University: "Sleep, Performance, and Public Safety."

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