Richard G. Petty, MD

Aggressive Bullies, Sleep and Breathing

Here is yet another possible problem associated with poor quality sleep and breathing problems during sleep.

Research from the University of Michigan that was presented at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Minneapolis this week, suggests a link with aggression.

Aggressive behavior and bullying are common amongst schoolchildren and are likely to have multiple causes. But a new one, and one which may be an undiagnosed, is sleep-related breathing disorder (SRBD).

The study focused on children in the second through fifth grades who attended school in an urban public school district. Parents completed two well-validated rating instruments: the Conners’ Parent Rating ScalePediatric Sleep Questionnaire SDB Scale. Teachers completed the Conners’ Teacher Rating Scale (CPRS) the  (CTRS). The numbers of discipline referrals in the previous 12 months were obtained from the six elementary schools.

A total of 345 CPRS’s and 245 corresponding CTRS’s were completed. The main finding was that schoolchildren who bully may be more likely to have an SRBD than their peers.

An SRBD may be a problem in more than 10 percent of children. It occurs when the airway is partially blocked during sleep. The most common example is snoring. The most severe form of an SRBD is obstructive sleep apnea. It occurs in about one percent to two percent of children.

If you suspect that your child or grandchild might be suffering from an SRBD or, for that matter, any type of sleep disorder, it is a really good idea to consult with your child’s pediatrician, who can see of he or she needs to be referred to a sleep specialist.

We already know that treatment of an SRBD may improve other mood, attention and behaviors in
children. We do not know if treatment might reduce aggression and bullying, and that will be the next research project.

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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