How Sleep Apnea Can Impact School Performance

With the 2017-2018 school year right around the corner, the team at Great Lakes Dental would like to share the following information on how sleep apnea can lead to learning and behavior difficulties in school. Fortunately, there are solutions available that can let your family sleep through the night and do their best during the day.


Sleep apnea is a disorder that impacts an individual's ability to breathe as they sleep. The person is unable to sustain deep, smooth breathing, and instead experiences regular pauses between breaths. When enough time has passed, the body reacts by a sudden gasp of breath. That pattern disrupts sleep, and does not allow the sufferer to remain in deep sleep for a sufficient amount of time. It is believed that sleep apnea occurs at a rate that is much higher than diagnosed, because the condition is not easily detected during normal office visits.


When kids aren't getting enough sleep at night, their brains and bodies do not have the rest needed to get them through the following day. Sleep apnea is a chronic condition, meaning that the negative effects of poor sleep can have a cumulative effect. Kids with sleep apnea often have trouble focusing at school, and research suggests that they do not perform as well as their peers. In fact, problems at school is one of the factors that help medical professionals diagnose sleep apnea. Interestingly, new research suggests that even kids who excel at school can suffer from sleep apnea, and could benefit from a treatment plan.


The sleep apnea treatment that most people are familiar with is a continuous positive airflow device, commonly known as CPAP. These devices are cumbersome, and many families search for alternative approaches to help their kids sleep through the night. Surgery is another option, but most parents want to address the issue without having to put their child through a surgical procedure. For many people, oral appliance therapy is a great solution. The process involves an appointment with your dental health professional, where a consultation, imaging and a dental exam provides the information needed to create a customized dental appliance that the patient wears at night. These devices are comfortable, quiet, easy to care for and simple to travel with. If you believe that you or your children may be suffering from sleep apnea, it may be time to call Great Lakes Dental to find a solution, and allow your family to make the most of their day at school, work and home.