Exam snorers score badly

June 12, 1998

STUDENTS who snore do significantly worse in exams and are at a higher risk of failing than non-snorers, a survey suggests.

University of Erlangen-Nuremburg researchers in Germany looked at the examination scores of 201 medical students in their finals. Each was asked to say whether they never, occasionally or regularly snored. Some 78 students (39 per cent) claimed never to snore, 99 (49 per cent) reported occasionally snoring and 24 (12 per cent) snored frequently.

The researchers found that 41.7 per cent of frequent snorers failed, compared with 22.2 per cent of occasional snorers and just 12.8 per cent of non-snorers. The mean examination scores for non-snorers was 69.3 per cent, compared with 65.3 per cent for occasional snorers and 60.4 for frequent snorers. The study allowed for age, sex and body mass index.

"We can only speculate why snoring students have worse exam scores," said Joachim Ficker, who led the research.

He said there were suggestions that the relationship may be linked with alcohol. Drinking can increase snoring and the alcohol may help explain the reduced performance.

But according to Dr Ficker: "The results were too strong to be explained by drinking alcohol."

He added: "German medical students don't regularly drink that much. What I suggest is that snoring disrupts sleep. This has been shown in many studies. The interruptions in sleep might lead to slightly reduced day-time performance throughout the year, which adds up. This is just a hypothesis."

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