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Children with sleep-disordered breathing experience daytime impairments, including compromised behavior and cognitive performance


Children who suffer from sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) are at a higher risk of exhibiting behavioral dysregulation in the day — the most noticeable being reduced cognitive performance.

  • SBD comprises a broad range of breathing-related problems from snoring to severe forms of obstructive sleep apnea.
  • These adverse effects reduce the amount of oxygen being delivered to the brain resulting in neuronal damage.
  • Converging evidence contend that even milder forms of SBD are predictive of impaired cognitive and behavioral performance.
  • For this study, scientists found that primary snoring contributed to poor quality of sleep among children, manifested by abrupt arousals, arterial oxygen desaturation, and cardiac disturbances.
  • These correlations were seen even after adjusting for age and body mass index.
  • Children who had more severe cases of snoring performed more poorly in cognitive tests in the day.

The authors conclude that abnormal respiratory patterns could influence how the brain rests during sleep. In particular, SBD that occurs during a child’s “deep sleep” (or when there are slower, longer brain waves being produced) result in subtle changes in neural physiology.

Full text of study at this link.

Journal Reference:

Simor PCA, Zavecz Z, Csábi E, Benedek P, Janacsek K, Gombos F, Németh D. DELTA AND THETA ACTIVITY DURING SLOW-WAVE SLEEP ARE ASSOCIATED WITH DECLARATIVE BUT NOT WITH NON-DECLARATIVE LEARNING IN CHILDREN WITH SLEEP-DISORDERED BREATHING, Sleep Spindles & Cortical Up States. 2017;1(1):55–66. DOI: 10.1556/2053.01.2017.003.



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