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Snoring 'damages ability to learn'

Children who snore are damaging their ability to concentrate and study, research has found.

According to studies to be presented at the European Sleep Research Society congress this week, the interrupted sleep experienced by children with irregular night-time breathing could stunt their mental development.

Scientists at Southampton University compared the attention spans and brain activity of children who had problems with snoring with those who did not. The sample of 66 three- to seven-year-olds who were waiting for a tonsillectomy because of their snoring – and had interrupted sleep – all had shorter attention spans, reduced energy, decreased mental flexibility and poorer language skills than the unaffected children. "We found that children with sleep disorders had more problems with the tasks, but their ability to do the same tasks improved following a tonsillectomy," said Dr Catherine Hill, the paediatric neuroscientist conducting the study.