Many, if not all, children snore on occasion. Loud and regular nightly snoring is a common culprit to sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. If you are concerned that your child is suffering from sleep apnea, consult your physician for treatment options.
To help you get started, we have compiled the common causes of snoring in children and home remedies.
What Causes Snoring?
Snoring occurs during sleep when your child’s airways are blocked through the back of the mouth. The opening and closing of the air passages creates a vibration in the throat tissue. The volume and intensity largely depends on how much air passes through the throat tissue as it vibrates.
Children who are three years or older typically snore during the deeper stages of sleep. If your child’s snoring is harmless, the diagnosis is called primary snoring. In more severe cases, it is associated with more serious problems such as obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) or an inability of the lungs to breathe in sufficient oxygen.
Various factors contribute to snoring. If only occasional, snoring can be caused by:
- Colds and the flu. Upper-respiratory infections are the most common culprits behind occasional snoring in children. It occurs when your child has a stuffy nose and the mucus blocks his or her airway, creating turbulence in the airflow as it passes through the throat.
- Allergic reactions. Allergies can cause congestion and result in labored nose breathing or mouth breathing.
- Enlarged adenoids or tonsils. The adenoids are lymph tissues located where the nose and throat meets, and the tonsils are two lumps of lymph tissue located at the back of the throat. Both adenoids and tonsils protect your child from infections by trapping inhaled viruses and bacteria. Occasionally, they become infected and swollen. As a result, enlarged adenoids and tonsils interrupt airflow and can cause snoring.
- Sleeping position. Sleeping on your back creates a tendency for the mouth to hang open allowing the tongue to roll backwards and its weight can block the airway enough for loud snoring to occur.
- Excess weight and fat deposits are stored throughout the body. If the neck becomes thicker around the airway, it can restrict and narrow the air passage. The narrower it becomes, the louder the snoring.
In more severe cases, sleep apnea is to blame. OSAS occurs when airways are interrupted for at least ten seconds between breathing. Muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open, causing fragmented sleep and low blood oxygen levels. The combination of disturbed sleep and oxygen starvation may lead to hypertension and behavioral, mood, and memory problems for your child.
If your child suffers from OSAS, he or she may:
- Snore loudly on a regular basis.
- Have pauses, gasps and snorts, which may awaken them or disrupt their sleep.
- Be restless or sleep in abnormal positions.
- Sweat heavily during sleep.
3 Home Remedies and Solutions for Snoring
If your child is snoring the night away, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician, especially if the snoring is coupled with breathing problems. Some possible solutions you may want to consider:
- Elevate your child’s head. Place a pillow underneath your child’s mattress. Elevating his or her head can help relieve congestion and clear up breathing passages.
- Remove all allergy triggers. If allergies are the underlying cause, be sure to remove all allergy triggers from your child’s room. If the allergies are still problematic, your pediatrician may recommend allergy medication.
- Examine your child’s adenoids and tonsils. If your child has enlarged adenoids and/or tonsils, your pediatrician may suggest surgically removing them.
Schedule a Consultation
If your child is snoring through the night, it may be time to discuss a prevention and treatment plan. The form of treatment will depend on the cause of your child’s condition.
Remember that it isn’t necessarily cause for alarm, but if you believe snoring is affecting your child’s sleep, consult your physician to rule out any underlying conditions that may be affecting your child’s sleep quality.
Join our many satisfied patients, and schedule an appointment with Dr. Shukla today, for treatment options.