Directors: Antonio M. Battro and Kurt W. Fischer
Program officer: María Lourdes Majdalani
Sleep disordered breathing and daytime sleepiness are associated with poor academic performance in teenagers
Study objectives: Inadequate sleep and sleep disordered breathing (SDB) frequently results in daytime sleepiness and can impair learning skills. A link between daytime sleepiness and impaired academic performance has been suggested. This study was conducted to evaluate the performance of a Spanish version of the Pediatric Daytime Sleepiness Scale (PDSS) and to assess the impact of sleepiness and SDB on academic performance. Material and Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in students from 7 schools in 4 cities of Argentina. Each participant was asked to fill a daytime-sleepiness questionnaire (PDSS). Questions on the occurrence of snoring and witnessed apneas were answered by the parents. Mathematics and language grades were used as indicators of academic performance. Results: The survey included 2884 students (50% males; age: 13.3 ± 1.5 years). Response rate was 85%; 678 cases were excluded due to missing data. Half of the students slept less than 9 hrs per night on weekdays. Mean PDSS value was 15.74 ± 5.93. Parental reporting of snoring occurred in 511 subjects (23%); snoring was occasional in 14% and frequent in 9%. Apneas were witnessed in 237 cases (10%), being frequent in 4% and occasional in 7%. Frequent snorers had higher mean PDSS scores than occasional or non-snorers (18 ± 1, 16 ± 6 and 16 ± 6, respectively; p < 0.001). Snorers had lower mean grades in mathematics (6.8 ± 1.6 vs. 6.4 ± 1.6, p < 0.001) and language (7.0 ± 1.4 vs. 6.7 ± 1.5 p< 0.001). Reported snoring or apneas and the PDSS were significant univariate predictors of academic failure and remained significant in multivariate logistic regression analysis after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index (BMI) and sleep habits. Conclusions: Insufficient hours of sleep were prevalent in our population. Reports of snoring or witnessed apneas and daytime sleepiness as measured by PDSS were independent predictors of poor academic performance.