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HomeHealthWhy Is Your Child Snoring?: Causes and solutions

Why Is Your Child Snoring?: Causes and solutions

Snoring is a noise that occurs during sleep when the child is breathing in and there is some blockage of air passing through the back of the mouth. The opening and closing of the air passage causes a vibration of the tissues in the throat. The loudness is affected by how much air is passing through and how fast the throat tissue is vibrating.

Primary snoring is defined as snoring that is not associated with more serious problems such as obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), frequent arousals from sleep, or inability of the lungs to breathe in sufficient oxygen.

When snoring is accompanied by gasps or pauses in breathing, the child may have OSAS. When the air pathway is obstructed and sufficient air cannot pass through. This interferes with breathing, causing a pause in breathing that causes decrease in oxygen and increase in the carbon dioxide level. The brain is then alerted and signals the body to make an effort to start breathing again. This effort results in the child gasping or snorting, waking up and starting to breathe again. Because of this, the child may not get enough quality sleep and is likely to be sleepy or overtired during the day and also affects their day time activities. So, this might contribute to behavioral problems including difficulties at school in children.

Some of the factors to sleep apnea may be obesity, allergies, asthma, GERD   (gastroenterological reflux disorder), an abnormality in the physical structure of the face (nasal septum deviation) or jaw as well as medical and neurological conditions.

In children, the most common physical problem associated with sleep apnea is large tonsils, like adenoids which often swollen during common cold. Adenoids is the structure that will disappear after certain years.

Consult with the doctor if you found your children,

During the night,

  • Snore loudly and on a regular basis
  • Have pauses, gasps, and actually stop breathing. The gasps may waken them and disrupt their sleep.
  • Be restless or sleep in abnormal positions with their head in unusual positions.
  • Sweat heavily during sleep.

During the day,

  • Have behavioral, school and social problems
  • Be difficult to wake up
  • Have headaches during the day, but especially in the morning
  • Be irritable
  • Be so sleepy during the day
  • Speak with a nasal voice and breathe regularly through the mouth

Depending on the cause of your child’s snoring, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following solutions:

  • Remove possible allergen triggers such as: stuffed animals, pets, or feathery down pillows and comforters.
  • Prescribe sinus congestion and allergy medications.
  • Suggest that you elevate your child’s head or mattress at night with a special pillow which can help relieve congestion and clear up their nasal passages.
  • Refer you to an Ear Nose and Throat specialist to see if your child’s tonsils and adenoids need to be removed.

References: Sleepfoundation

Dr. Sanjay Maharjan, MD
Dr. Sanjay Maharjan, MD
MD in Basic and Clinical Physiology


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