Children who snore loudly are more likely to misbehave and could display signs of hyperactivity or short attention spans, a US doctor has claimed.

The report, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that children who snore loudly at least twice a week between the ages of two and three were more likely to misbehave or show signs of hyperactivity that those who didn't.

Dr Dean Beebe, a neuropsychologist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, said that often, poor sleeping patterns or breathing difficulties were to blame for the loud snoring, and urged parents to seek professional help in persistent or prolonged cases.

He said: "A lot of kids snore every so often, and cartoons make snoring look cute or funny.

"But loud snoring that lasts for months is not normal, and anything that puts young kids at that much risk for behavioural problems is neither cute nor funny.

"That kind of snoring can be a sign of real breathing problems at night that are treatable.

"I encourage parents to talk to their child's doctor about loud snoring, especially if it happens a lot and persists over time."

The report also found that infants breastfed for a longer period of time helped to protect children against persistent snoring. Family income also seemed to have a bearing, with those from poorer backgrounds found to be at higher risk of loud snoring.

Story posted by Robert Mair on 13/08/2012