Aug. 20, 2003 -- Children who snore may suffer at school as well as at night.
A new study shows children who snore most nights score worse on tests of mathematics, science, and spelling compared with children who don't snore.
Researchers say it's the first study to show a clear biological relationship between snoring in children and the risk of poor academic performance, in a news release from the American Thoracic Society.
They say the study has important public health implications because the findings suggest that snoring may have a negative effect on children's mental performance -- even if they don't suffer from an inadequate supply of oxygen in the blood, a condition called hypoxia that is frequently associated with snoring. Previously, snoring that occurred without hypoxia was considered harmless.
Snoring and School
In the study, researchers collected information on snoring and academic performance from 1,129 third-grade school children in Germany. Snoring frequency was determined using parental reports and home monitoring of nighttime oxygen levels that provided data on intermittent hypoxia.
"Habitual snoring, defined as snoring frequently or always, was found in one of 10 of these primary school children, which is in line with other studies," write researcher Michael S. Urschitz, of University Hospital of Tuebingen, Germany, and colleagues.
"More importantly, children who snored habitually had at least twice the risk of performing poorly at school, with this association becoming stronger with increasing frequency," they write.
The study also showed a significant relationship between poor academic performance and snoring in children who did not suffer from inadequate oxygen levels in the blood, which suggests that snoring's effect on academic performance is not due to intermittent hypoxia.
Instead, researchers say snoring children may suffer at school due to reduced attention spans, behavioral disturbances like hyperactivity, daytime sleepiness, and/or hearing difficulties caused by snoring and the sleeping problems that accompany it.