Sleep Disordered Breathing and Cognition Among Young Adults

Theresa Lin, Fordham University


Sleep disordered breathing (SDB) is a general term that describes a group of conditions where upper airway dysfunction results in an abnormal breathing pattern during sleep. Prevalence for SDB is estimated to be 9% for women and 24% for men in an adult population and has increased 14% to 55% depending on subgroups of age, sex, and SDB severity. SDB affects cognitive functioning in both adults and children alike, with impacts in executive functioning, attention, and various aspects of memory. Aside from neuropsychological domains, SDB is extensively linked to the development of dementia and may increase the odds of developing Alzheimer’s. To date, most of the studies on SDB have focused on either the older adult population or the pediatric population and few studies focusing on SDB have focused on young adults. The present study aims to close the existing gap in the literature by examining SDB among college students and its relationship to cognitive functioning using cross-sectional observational data. Although SDB and cognition were not found to be related, BMI significantly affected the relationship between SDB and attention measures, and anxiety symptoms as well as stress significantly affected the relationship between SDB and memory measures. The results of this study highlight the need to screen for SDB in a healthy young adult population. Young adults who experience high levels of anxiety and stress as well as young adults with high BMI should consider cognitive evaluation and also SDB evaluation by a healthcare provider.

Subject Area

Psychology|Neurosciences|Cognitive psychology

Recommended Citation

Lin, Theresa, "Sleep Disordered Breathing and Cognition Among Young Adults" (2023). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30571885.