Compared with children with well-controlled asthma, those with poorly controlled asthma had lower quality school work and worse sleep habits, according to study results presented at the American Thoracic Society International Conference. Poorer sleep quality was also associated with careless school work, the authors found.
“While it has been recognized that missed sleep and school absences are important indicators of asthma morbidity in children, our study is the first to explore the associations between asthma, sleep quality, and academic performance in real time, prospectively, using both objective and subjective measures,” said principal investigator Daphne Koinis-Mitchell, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Human Behavior (Research) and Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Research) at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School in Providence, Rhode Island.
“In our sample of urban schoolchildren (aged 7 to 9), we found that compromised lung function corresponded with both poor sleep efficiency and impaired academic performance.”
Higher self-reported and objectively measured asthma symptom levels were also associated with lower quality school work and increased sleep onset latency was associated with more difficulty in remaining awake in class.
The authors noted that family-level interventions aimed at asthma control and improving sleep quality may help to improve academic performance and that school-level interventions can involve identifying children with asthma who miss school often, appear sleepy and inattentive during class, or who have difficulty with school work.
The study included data on 170 parent-child dyads from urban and African-American, Latino, and non-Latino white backgrounds residing in Greater Providence, RI. These data are part of a larger 5-year study of asthma and allergic rhinitis symptoms, sleep quality and academic performance (including 450 urban children with persistent asthma and healthy controls) funded by The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Project NAPS (Nocturnal Asthma and Performance in School) is administered through Rhode Island Hospital at The Bradley Hasbro Research Center.