Although snoring once in a while is common among children, it can also be dangerous when it becomes a habit. Not only is it a potential sign of obstructive sleep apnea (momentary pauses in breathing), but it may also be linked to a poor performance in school.
In a new research conducted by a team from University of Otago-Dunedin in New Zealand, led by Barbara Gilland, they discovered that children who habitually snore or are diagnosed with certain sleep breathing issues are at risk of at least 10% lower school grades than kids with no such problems.
For the study, the researchers looked into multiple data from more than 13 studies in 12 countries. Each of these studies was participated by around 550 children between the ages of 5 and 17.
Based on the data, they compared the prevalence of sleep breathing problems including snoring and their performance in school. Children who have problems scored 12.3% lower in language arts, 11.6 lower in science, and 13.1% lower in math.
Some previous studies suggested that snoring children could still have an achievement level similar to the non-snoring kids, the team believes that the research is indicative a possible higher risk of poor performance.
The study, however, has limitations. For example, the study analyzed the school performance over a certain period of time. It is possible that other factors may have contributed to the poorer grades. The research also cannot specify which among the children with sleeping problems are the most likely to perform poorly.
Nevertheless, certain interventions can already be performed to mitigate the risks, including jaw realignment and controlling childhood obesity.
According to UCLA Sleep Disorders Center, at least 7% of children in the United States habitually snore while 2% have a severe case, wherein snoring is combined with difficulty with breathing. Moreover, children with obstructive sleep apnea may also be at risk of heart failure and delayed growth.