Sleep-disordered breathing in preschool children is associated with behavioral, but not cognitive, impairments.


Psychological Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.



Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) has been associated with impaired cognitive and behavioral function in school children; however, there have been limited studies in preschool children when the incidence of the disorder peaks. Thus, the aim of this study was to compare cognitive and behavioral functions of preschool children with SDB to those of non-snoring control children.


A clinical sample of 3-5year-old children (primary snoring [PS], n=60; mild obstructive sleep apnea syndrome [OSAS], n=32; moderate/severe [MS] OSAS, n=24) and a community sample of non-snoring control children (n=37) were studied with overnight polysomnography. Cognitive performance and behavioral information were collected.


Children with PS and mild OSAS had poorer behavior than controls on numerous measures (p<.05-p<.001), and on some measures they had poorer behavior than the MS OSAS group (p<.05). In contrast, all groups performed similarly on cognitive assessment. Outcomes related more to sleep than respiratory measures.


SDB of any severity was associated with poorer behavior but not cognitive performance. The lack of significant cognitive impairment in this age group may have identified a “window of opportunity” where early treatment may prevent deficits arising later in childhood.

Sleep Med. 2012 Jun;13(6):621-31. Epub 2012 Apr 13.

Randy Clare

Randy Clare

Randy Clare brings to The Sleep and Respiratory Scholar more than 25 years of extensive knowledge and experience in the sleep and pulmonary function field. He has held numerous management positions throughout his career and has demonstrated a unique view of the alternate care diagnostic and therapy model. He is considered by many an expert in the use of a Sleep Bruxism Monitor in a dental office. Mr. Clare's extensive sleep industry experience assists Sleepandrespiratoryscholar in providing current, relevant, data-proven information on sleep diagnostics and sleep therapies that are effective for the treatment of sleep disorders. Mr Clare is a senior brand manager for Glidewell Dental Laboratory his focus is on dental treatment for sleep disordered breathing.

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