How Sleep Issues Affect Children's Academics, Behavior, and Relationships
Even small breathing disturbances can hugely affect children’s academic performance, behavior, social relationships, and extracurricular activities. For most of us, unimpeded breathing occurs automatically throughout the day. However, we spend approximately one-third of our lives asleep, and the way we breathe during this time can have significant implications on the quality of our waking hours.
Sleep-disordered breathing affects a large part of the population. Sleep-disordered breathing includes:
Mouth breathing – affecting 55% of children (to read more about the trouble with mouth breathing, click here).
Primary snoring – affecting up to 35% of children
Obstructive sleep apnea – affecting up to 5% of children
Upper airway resistance syndrome – prevalence unknown
How does sleep-disordered breathing affect children’s functioning?
Studies have shown:
25-50% of preschoolers show sleep problems associated with behavior problems.
Nearly 65% of children with sleep-disordered breathing have speech production issues.
Children who are mouth-breathers exhibit immature auditory processing, poor brain oxygenation, and daytime sleepiness, which could lead to learning disabilities.
50-80% of children with autism spectrum disorder experience sleep problems.
Does your child display any of these problem behaviors that may indicate sleep-disordered breathing?
Hyperactivity and fidgeting
Impaired executive function skills
Impaired visual-fine motor skills
Poor academic performance
Nighttime Red Flags for Sleep-Disordered Breathing
Cessation of breathing
Gasping for air
Hyperextension of the neck
What Can You Do?
If your child shows any signs of sleep-disordered breathing, contact a pediatric ENT (ear-nose-throat) physician for a consultation and describe any concerns.
American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
Archives of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics
Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics
Journal of Pediatric Disabilities
Seminars in Pediatric Neurology
Sleep Medicine Reviews