We have known for a long time that adults and children that suffer from moderate to severe sleep apnoea (stopping breathing at night) suffer from neurocognitive deficits.
What about if your child “just” snores ?
Research has now shown that children who have “primary snoring” – i.e. just snoring and not gasping for air or stopping breathing in their sleep have lower performance IQ compared to children that don’t , when matched for schools, parents jobs, socio economic background. In other words it appears themain reason for lower performance is that children snore at night. *
The main concern found form this study was that children aged 5 to 10 years who snore had a much lower attention capacity compared to those that don’t. As you can imagine this can have a considerable knock on effect to a child’s ability to learn new tasks and therefore perform.
Other symptoms that can occur due to snoring/ sleep apnoea in children are irritability, behavioural difficulties, bedwetting.
The good new is that studies show these performance defects are reversible if successful treatment can be established.
The main causes of snoring in children are obesity, enlarged tonsils and adenoids, I’m correct growth of the jaws and cranium, and mouth breathing habits. It is important to correct all of these for long term successful outcomes. There are many reasons for mouth breathing and if these are not identified, the results from surgery to remove enlarged tonsils and adenoids will be short lived.***
So if you now of any child that snores , do them a huge favour in life. Get them to a dentist / sleep physician / doctor that has a holistic understanding of all of the above. You really could change their lives.
*Blunden, Sarah, et al. “Behavior and neurocognitive performance in children aged 5-10 years who snore compared to controls.” Journal of Clinical and Experimental neuropsychology 22.5 (2000): 554-568.
**Gozal, David. “Sleep-disordered breathing and school performance in children.” Pediatrics 102.3 (1998): 616-620.
***Bhattacharjee, Rakesh, et al. “Adenotonsillectomy outcomes in treatment of obstructive sleep apnea in children: a multicenter retrospective study.” American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine 182.5 (2010): 676-683.