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Snoring and Apnea Affect Teens' Academic Performance

Argentine study tests sleep assessment tool for middle-school students

MONDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Teenagers who snore or have sleep apnea perform more poorly in school, as do teens who do not get enough sleep in general, researchers report in the December issue of the journal Sleep.

Daniel Perez-Chada, M.D., of the Hospital Universitario Austral in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and colleagues followed 2,884 middle-school students (median age 13.3 years) from seven middle-class schools in four Argentine cities. Students answered a Spanish-language version of the Pediatric Daytime Sleepiness Scale (PDSS). Parents answered questions regarding snoring and apneas, and grades were obtained by permission from the schools.

A greater percentage of students reported sleeping less than eight hours on weekends than on weekdays (83 percent versus 49 percent). This pattern differs, the authors note, from adolescent sleep studies in the United States, which suggest that sleep deprivation during the week is compensated for on weekends. Snoring was reported for 23 percent of the students and apneas in 11 percent. Snoring, apneas and daytime sleepiness were independent predictors of poor academic performance, with apneas showing the highest correlation.

"Taking into account the ease of administration of this scale, the PDSS has a potential role as a clinical tool in the practitioner's office to evaluate sleepiness and predict academic failure," the authors conclude.

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