Paris - Thinking of buying a pet for junior? Consider this: children who grow up in the company of cats, dogs or other furry friends are more likely to become snoring adults, according to a new study.
Snoring is no laughing matter. Besides sleep deprivation - for the snorer, and especially for anyone within earshot - snoring is linked to more serious consequences.
It increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, such as heart attacks or a stroke, and can even result in premature death.
Earlier research has shown that a tendency to snore can be established early in life.
To find out why, researchers led by Karl Franklin of University Hospital in Umea, Sweden asked more than 15 500 randomly selected people in Nordic countries about their early childhood, and their snoring habits.
Just about 18 percent of the respondents fit the profile of habitual snorers, defined as "loud and disturbing snoring at least three nights in a week."
The childhood "risk" factors most associated with this group were exposure to animals, early respiratory or ear infections, and - oddly enough - living in a large family.
Newborns in contact with dogs, they found, were among the most likely to become nocturnal noisemakers when they grew up.
"These factors may enhance inflammatory processes and thereby alter upper airway anatomy early in life, causing an increased susceptibility for adult snoring," the study conjectured.
The harsh, occasionally nerve-wracking sounds associated with snoring are caused the vibrating of the soft palate.
The study was published in the Britain-based BioMed Central's journal Respiratory Research.