Can Teen Snoring Lead to Bad School Performance?

Teen snoring—it might seem cute or funny, but it can be a serious problem. Snoring can be a sign of a sleeping or breathing problem that can cause your teen to have significant issues with behavior, mood, and school performance.

Teenage girl sleeping in bed
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Symptoms and Causes

Snoring tends to happen when the flow of air out of the lungs and through the mouth and nose becomes disrupted. Sometimes snoring is harmless and doesn't cause any problems.

Other times, snoring is a sign of a more serious issue with blockages in the airway due to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or sleep-disordered breathing. With OSA, low oxygen causes people to wake up for seconds at a time, and then they fall asleep immediately. The frequent sleep disruptions can lead to feeling tired or sleepy during the day. This tiredness can affect daytime behavior and attention.

There are a few reasons that teens might snore to the point of having sleep-disordered breathing. One of the big culprits can be the tonsils or adenoids. If these structures become enlarged, they can interfere with the airflow through the throat, mouth, and nose. And if your son or daughter has chronic tonsillitis, it can cause snoring.

Other risk factors for sleep-disordered breathing are:

  • Family history of sleep apnea
  • A history of wheezing or chronic cough
  • Obesity
  • Cigarette smoking
  • A small jaw or small airway
  • Alcohol intake before sleep

School Performance

Approximately 10% of children and teens are “habitual” snorers. A habitual snorer is someone who snores three or more times per week. Students who are considered habitual snorers perform worse in school than their non-snoring counterparts.

It has been found that children who are sleepy during the day as a result of snoring have shorter attention spans and problems controlling their behaviors. These two issues can contribute to problems at home and at school.

This can be frustrating for you and for your teen. They might want to do well In school and get along with others–but severe tiredness can get In the way.


The good news is that if snoring is corrected, behavior problems and school problems can improve.

Ways to reduce snoring can include using a supportive pillow, propping up the head of the bed, wearing a mouthpiece, or using a decongestant.

Teens who have asthma or allergies might benefit from medication. However, the solutions are not the same for everyone, so it's important to have your teen see a healthcare provider.

Studies suggest that people who have been snoring because of enlarged tonsils or adenoids can get some relief from symptoms with surgery.

A Word From Verywell

As a parent, it's important that you encourage your teen to get enough sleep. If your teen snores frequently, talk to their pediatrician about further evaluation and testing. Snoring can be a sign that your teen isn't getting enough rest when they go to bed, and that can affect their mood, grades, and more. Once your child's pediatrician identifies the cause, you can all work together to determine the best solution.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Tan YH, How CH, Chan YH, Teoh OH. Approach to the snoring child. Singapore Med J. 2020 Apr;61(4):170-175. doi:10.11622/smedj.2020054

  2. Perez-Chada D, Perez-Lloret S, Videla AJ, Cardinali D, Bergna MA, Fernández-Acquier M, Larrateguy L, Zabert GE, Drake C. Sleep disordered breathing and daytime sleepiness are associated with poor academic performance in teenagers. A study using the Pediatric Daytime Sleepiness Scale (PDSS). Sleep. 2007 Dec;30(12):1698-703. doi:10.1093/sleep/30.12.1698

  3. Bariani RCB, Bigliazzi R, de Moura Guimarães T, Tufik S, Moreira GA, Fujita RR. The effects of rapid maxillary expansion on persistent pediatric snoring post-tonsillectomy. Sleep Breath. 2022 Oct 17. doi:10.1007/s11325-022-02724-w

Additional Reading
  • Chervin, R.D., MD, MS, Archbold, K.H., Ph.D., Dillon, J.E., MD, Panahi, P., MD, Pituch, K.J., MD, Dahl, R.E., MD| and Guilleminault, C., MD. Inattention, Hyperactivity, and Symptoms of Sleep-Disordered Breathing. Pediatrics 2002, 109(3), 449-456.
  • Gozal, D. Sleep-Disordered Breathing and School Performance in Children. Pediatrics 1998, 102(3), 616-620.
  • Millman, RP and Working Group on Sleepiness in Adolescents/Young Adults and AAP Committee on Adolescents. Excessive Sleepiness in Adolescents and Young Adults: Causes, Consequences, and Treatment Strategies. Pediatrics 2005, 115, 1774-1786.
  • O’Brien, L.M., Ph.D., Mervis, C.B., Ph.D., Holbrook, C.R., RPSGT, Bruner, J.L., BSc, RPSGT, Klaus, C.J., RPSGT, Rutherford, J., MA, Raffield, T.J., MA and Gozal, D., MD. Neurobehavioral Implications of Habitual Snoring in Children. Pediatrics 2004, 114(1), 44-49.
  • Shin, C., Joo, S., Kim, J. and Kim, T. Prevalence and Correlates of Habitual Snoring in High School Students. Chest 2003, 124, 1709-1715.
  • Urschitz, M.S., Guenther, A., Eggebrecht, E., Wolff, J., Urschitz-Duprat, P.M., Schlaud, M. and Poets, C.F. Snoring, Intermittent Hypoxia and Academic Performance in Primary School Children. Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 2003, 168, 464-468.

By Barbara Poncelet
 Barbara Poncelet, CRNP, is a certified pediatric nurse practitioner specializing in teen health.