What causes snoring in children?

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Parents often wonder what triggers snoring in their children, striving to ensure their little ones get the uninterrupted, restful sleep they need. In this blog post, we delve into the various factors that contribute to childhood snoring, distinguishing between occasional and regular cases.

We will explore obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) as a leading cause of habitual snoring in children, examining how enlarged tonsils and adenoids or a deviated nasal septum can lead to airway obstruction. In addition, we will talk about possible daytime behavior problems derived from poor quality sleep due to night disturbances.

To help concerned parents take action, our discussion includes diagnostic methods for identifying OSAS in children through physical examinations and polysomnography tests. We also outline effective treatment options such as adenotonsillectomy and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices. Finally, we offer practical preventative measures that can reduce snoring in children by promoting healthy weight management and adjusting sleeping positions to improve airflow.

The shocking truth about childhood snoring

Did you know that 10% of children snore and that it can be a sign of a severe sleep disorder?

Occasional snoring vs habitual snoring

Snoring caused by a cold or allergies is rare, but if your child snores more than three nights a week, it could be common and a sign of sleep apnea.

The risks of snoring regularly

  • brain development: Regular snoring can affect a child’s memory and ability to solve problems.
  • School performance: Poor quality sleep can lead to lower grades and difficulty concentrating in class.
  • Mood and behavior: Snoring can cause mood swings, irritability, and even ADHD-like symptoms.

Don’t ignore your child’s snoring: talk to your doctor or visit a children’s hospital specializing in sleep disorders for help.

Common risk factors for snoring in children

Childhood snoring can be attributed to a number of factors, some of which may increase the likelihood that a child will experience sleep-disordered breathing.

Obesity as a contributing factor

Excess body weight can cause fatty deposits around the neck and throat area, causing airway obstruction during sleep.

Encouraging your child to maintain a healthy weight through regular physical activity and balanced nutrition can help reduce the risk of developing sleep apnea or other related problems.

Alcohol consumption affects children’s sleep quality

Alcohol relaxes muscles throughout the body—including those responsible for keeping the airways open during sleep—increasing the chances of disturbed breathing patterns at night.

Educating your child about responsible drinking habits when they reach an appropriate age could prevent future complications related to excessive alcohol consumption.

Tonsils and adenoids blocking the airways

If your child snores frequently, one possible cause could be enlarged tonsils or adenoids blocking airflow while sleeping.

Consulting a medical professional can help determine if your snoring is due to enlarged tonsils or adenoids that are impeding airflow during sleep, and provide appropriate treatments.

Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy are common procedures to reduce snoring caused by enlarged tonsils or adenoids.

Deviated nasal septum contributing to snoring

A deviated nasal septum can cause breathing difficulties during sleep, resulting in increased snoring.

If you suspect that your child has a deviated septum, it is essential that you consult with the children’s hospital for a proper diagnosis and possible corrective procedures.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea – Main Cause of Habitual Snoring

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the main culprit for your child’s frequent snoring, caused by enlarged tonsils and adenoids that block the airway during sleep, causing disturbed breathing patterns and problems with breathing. behavior during the day.

Symptoms associated with obstructive sleep apnea:

  • Loud and persistent snoring.
  • Gaps in breathing or gasping during sleep.
  • Restless tossing and turning in bed all night.
  • Excessive mouth breathing or drooling while sleeping.
  • Night sweats or episodes of enuresis.
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OSAS-related daytime behavior problems:

  1. Irritability, mood swings and aggressiveness.
  2. (fountain)

Consult your child’s doctor and arrange for a sleep evaluation at a children’s hospital to determine if snoring or other sleep disorders are present.

Diagnosis of sleep disorders related to snorers

If your child snores often, it could indicate a possible sleep disorder such as childhood snoring or OSA, which can cause breathing difficulties and other health problems.

Physical exam to detect sleep disorders

A physical exam by your child’s doctor can help identify underlying causes such as enlarged tonsils or adenoids, obesity, or allergies.

Polysomnography as a Diagnostic Tool

Polysomnography, commonly known as a “sleep study,” is a comprehensive test that monitors brain activity, heart rate, and respiratory effort throughout the night to identify specific patterns indicative of OSAS or other sleep disorders.

  • Home sleep study: Some children can complete their polysomnograms using portable equipment within the comfort of their own rooms.
  • Sleep study in a laboratory: In some cases, children may need to have their sleep study completed at a specialized sleep laboratory or children’s hospital.

Following your child’s sleep study, you and the pediatrician will collaborate on a treatment plan tailored to the results to minimize snoring and improve sleep.

Treatment Options for OSA and Childhood Snoring

If your child snores frequently, it could be a sign of sleep-disordered breathing or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which can be treated with an adenotonsillectomy procedure.

An adenotonsillectomy involves removing a child’s tonsils and adenoids in a single operation, which has been shown to improve airflow obstruction and reduce snoring.

Positive results from surgery include improved sleep quality, daytime behavior, cognitive function, and academic performance, but there are potential complications such as infection or bleeding, and some children may continue to experience sleep apnea or snoring even after surgery. successful removal of your tonsils and adenoids.

Parents should continue regular check-ups with their child’s doctor to monitor progress and address any potential issues that may arise post-op.

It is important to consult with your child’s doctor to create a personalized care plan to ensure the best possible outcome.

For more information, visit childrenshospital.org.

Alternative methods to reduce snoring in children

Weight control strategies

Childhood obesity is a major risk factor for sleep-disordered breathing, including obstructive sleep apnea. Encourage your child to maintain a proper weight through regular physical activity and a balanced diet.

Sleep position adjustments

Avoid sleeping on your back and encourage your child to sleep on their side by placing pillows behind them or using anti-snoring pillows.

CPAP therapy

  • Doctors may prescribe CPAP devices that deliver continuous airflow through a mask worn during sleep to reduce snoring.
  • Ongoing studies are evaluating whether treating snoring or mild breathing problems during sleep can improve related health conditions such as asthma and allergies.

If your child’s snoring persists, see a pediatric sleep specialist at a children’s hospital to discuss further diagnostic tests and possible treatments.

Frequently asked questions regarding the causes of snoring in children

What causes snoring in children?

Snoring in children can be caused by enlarged tonsils and adenoids, obesity, a deviated septum, or allergies.


What does snoring mean for children?

Occasional snoring is harmless, but frequent or loud snoring may be a sign of an underlying problem such as obstructive sleep apnea, which can lead to daytime behavior problems and academic difficulties due to inadequate rest.


When is snoring in children worrying?

Snoring becomes a cause for concern when it occurs frequently or disrupts the quality of a child’s sleep, which can cause gasping during sleep, restless turning in bed at night, difficulty waking up in the morning, and daytime sleepiness.


Is it normal for 7 year olds to snore?

Occasional light snoring is normal for 7-year-olds, but loud and persistent snoring accompanied by other symptoms such as mouth breathing and disrupted breathing patterns could indicate an underlying health problem that requires medical attention.



Parents and caregivers need to understand what causes snoring in children to ensure they get a good night’s sleep.

Occasional snoring isn’t much of a problem, but regular snoring can indicate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which can lead to behavioral problems during the day.

The main cause of OSAS in children is enlargement of the tonsils and adenoids or the deviation of the nasal septum.

Diagnosis involves a physical examination and polysomnography testing, while treatment options include adenotonsillectomy or CPAP devices for severe cases of OSAS.

Preventive measures such as promoting healthy weight control and adjusting sleeping postures can also help reduce snoring in children.

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