Sleep Disorders as a Risk to Language Learning and Use


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Clinical question: Are people with sleep disorders at higher risk for language learning deficits than healthy sleepers? Method: Scoping Review. Study sources: PubMed, Google Scholar, Trip Database, Search terms: sleep disorders AND language AND learning; sleep disorders language learning -deprivation -epilepsy; sleep disorders AND verbal learning. Number of included studies: 36. Primary results: Children and adults with sleep disorders were at a higher risk for language problems than healthy sleepers. The language problems typically co-occurred with problems of attention and executive function (in children and adults), behavior (in children), and visual-spatial processing (in adults). Effects were typically small. Language problems seldom rose to a level of clinical concern but there were exceptions involving phonological deficits in children with sleep-disordered breathing and verbal memory deficits among adults with sleep-disordered breathing or idiopathic REM sleep behavior disorder. Conclusions: Case history interviews should include questions about limited sleep, poor-quality sleep, snoring, and excessive daytime sleepiness. Medical referrals for clients with suspected sleep disorders are prudent.

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