Are Sleep Problems Hereditary – Should You Worry About Your Kids?

By Rudy Watkins

Many people with serious snoring problems worry about whether or not their children will inherit this condition. Yes, they can. One journal, "Chest," has published research stating that children are three times more likely to snore if they have one snoring parent than other children whose parents are not snorers.

Sometimes, snoring signals a more serious health problem. Known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA, this condition causes its sufferers to actually stop breathing during sleep because of obstruction in their air passages.

While snoring is evidence that a person has some difficulty breathing, OSA actually causes individuals to stop breathing altogether. This makes it more serious. People with OSA often awaken from a ten second lack of breathing by gasping desperately for air. Periods of time where no breathing occurs are sometimes even longer.

OSA sufferers also tend to experience headaches and sore throats upon waking up as a result of their condition. Since OSA is often responsible for individuals getting less sleep than is necessary, they can become more irritable and less able to concentrate.

When not cared for properly, OSA can go on to put people at a higher risk for strokes and heart attacks. It can also raise blood pressure.

African-American children tend to snore three times more than children of other races according to one published study. It appeared in "Chest" and involved 681 kids from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

The same research also discovered that children that are positive for a test of asthma and allergies called Atopy are also two times more likely to be snorers than children whose test results were negative.

As a result of this study, doctors are able to identify which children have more a greater risk of developing sleep disorders and the serious damage they could cause can be prevented by parents.