Snoring is the sound that happens when air flows past relaxed tissues in your throat, causing the tissues to vibrate. It can occur when you sleep on your back, side, or stomach.
Some people snore all the time, while others only do it occasionally. Most children don’t snore on a regular basis.
However, some children may snore if they have adenotonsillar hypertrophy (aprons), which is an enlargement of the tonsils and adenoids. This can block the airway and cause snoring. Read more here to know when to worry about your child’s snoring. Other causes of snoring in children include:
- Nasal polyps
- Recurring upper respiratory infections
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
- Deviated septum
- Large tongue
- Small jawbone
- Cleft palate
Some children with sleep apnea may snore, but not all children who snore have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that needs medical treatment. Children with sleep apnea stop breathing for short periods of time while they sleep.
If your child has any of the following signs, they may have sleep apnea: Choking or gasping at night, sweating at night, bed wetting, morning headaches, and behavior problems during the day, hyperactivity, poor grades, or trouble paying attention in school. If you think your child has sleep apnea, take them to a doctor.
There are treatments available that can help. Some of the treatments for sleep apnea in children include:
- Weight loss (if overweight)
- Surgery to remove the tonsils and adenoids
- Surgery to widen the nostrils
- CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, which is a mask that is worn at night to help keep the airway open
- Surgery to reposition the lower jawbone
How can you Tell if your Child is Snoring, and how Severe is it?
If you think your child is snoring, talk to their doctor. The doctor will ask about your child’s medical history and symptoms. They may also do a physical exam. The doctor may refer your child to a sleep or ENT specialist for further evaluation.
There are different ways to measure how often and how loud a person snores. One is to have your child sleep in a sleep lab so that specialists can measure how often and how loud they snore.
If your child snores regularly, it may be mild, moderate, or severe. Mild snoring happens a few nights each week and doesn’t usually interfere with sleep.
Moderate snoring happens most nights and may cause daytime sleepiness. Severe snoring happens every night and can make it hard to get a good night’s sleep. It can also lead to other problems, such as behavior problems during the day.
What are the Risks of Snoring in Children?
Snoring itself is not usually a serious problem. However, it can be a sign of a more serious problem, such as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes people to stop breathing for short periods of time while they sleep. It can lead to other problems, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Behavior problems during the day, such as ADHD
- Poor grades in school
- Trouble paying attention in school.
What can Parents do to help their Children who Snore?
If your child snores occasionally, there are some things you can do to help them. For example, you can:
● Have your child sleep on their side instead of on the back
If your child snores, sleeping on their side may help. This is because when they sleep on their back, the soft palate at the back of the roof of their mouth relaxes and falls backward.
This narrows the airway and makes it more likely that they will snore. Sleeping on their side keeps the airway open. Some parents find that attaching a tennis ball to the back of their child’s sleepwear helps them stay on their side all night.
You could also try a special pillow that prevents your child from rolling onto their back during the night. If your child snores persistently, they may have sleep apnea.
If you think your child has sleep apnea, talk to your GP. They may refer you to a pediatrician or ENT specialist for further assessment and treatment.
● Elevate the head of the bed
One way to help stop your child from snoring is to elevate the head of their bed. This can be done by putting a block under the head of the bed or by using special pillows.
By elevating the head of the bed, it will help to keep the airway open and clear. This will allow air to flow more freely through the nose and throat and will help to prevent snoring.
Again, if your child snores on a regular basis, it is important to talk to a doctor. Snoring can be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as sleep apnea. Treating sleep apnea can help to reduce snoring and improve overall health.
● Keep the bedroom humid
Dry air can irritate the nose and throat and make snoring worse. Keeping the bedroom humid can help to moisten the air and reduce snoring.
One way to do this is to use a humidifier in the room. You could also put a bowl of water on a radiator or place a wet towel over an open window.
● Clear your child’s nose before bedtime
If your child has a stuffy nose, it can make snoring worse. Clearing your child’s nose before bedtime can help to reduce snoring.
One way to do this is to use a saline nasal spray. This will help to clear the nose and reduce congestion. You could also use a humidifier in the room to moisten the air and help clear the nose.
● Avoid giving your child sedatives before bedtime
Giving your child sedatives, such as over-the-counter cold medicines, before bedtime can make snoring worse. This is because sedatives relax the muscles in the throat and can make the airway narrower.
If you think your child’s snoring is due to a cold or allergies, talk to your GP. They may recommend an over-the-counter medication that will not make snoring worse.
In some cases, medical treatment may be necessary to treat childhood snoring. If your child snores on a regular basis, it is important to talk to your GP. They may refer you to a pediatrician ENT specialist for further assessment and treatment.
We are dedicated to helping children and adults who suffer from snoring and sleep apnea. We offer a range of treatment options that can help to reduce snoring and improve overall health. Contact us today to book an appointment. Call or WhatsApp: +65 9856 8391 or visit us at:
Allergy & Sinus ENT Specialist Centre
Head & Neck Surgery Singapore