When you look in on your sleeping child and hear them softly snoring as they sleep, you might smile and chuckle to yourself. But cute as it may sound, their snoring could be a symptom of a sleep disorder that shouldn’t be ignored.
What Is Snoring?
When the airway is obstructed during sleep, air trying to move through the airway causes vibrations that we hear as snoring. Here are a few things that can cause your child’s snoring by obstructing their airway:
Respiratory infections: Sinus blockage resulting from a stuffy nose caused by colds or allergies lead to mouth breathing and snoring.
Enlarged tonsils and adenoids: Tonsils and adenoids swollen from infection lead to snoring and strongly suggest a potential for obstructive sleep apnea. Your child cannot breathe easily when swollen tonsils and adenoids are blocking their airways.
Deviated septum: Sometimes, the airway for the two nostrils is displaced, making breathing more difficult because one of the airways is now smaller, causing reduced airflow.
OSA — obstructive sleep apnea: Statistically, 3–12% of all children snore, while approximately 1–3% of children between 1 and 9 years of age suffer from OSA. This disorder causes airflow to become obstructed as it passes through the upper respiratory system. Untreated OSA can lead to future health problems for children who suffer from it.
Signs Your Child May Have OSA
When the nighttime behaviors are missed, a child can be misdiagnosed as having ADHD, which can lead to inappropriate treatments. That is why it is important to make a point to look in frequently to see how your child is sleeping. At night look for:
- Snoring three or more nights during the week
- Breathing that is disturbed by gasp, snores, and pauses that last 10 seconds or longer
- Waking up due to interruptions in breathing
- Night sweating during sleep
- Restless sleep habits
- Unusual sleep position — particularly if they sleep with the head thrust back in an awkward position
- Frequent bed wetting
The results of poor sleep quality is frequently manifested during waking hours. During the day, look for:
- Excessive sleepiness and difficulty awakening
- Daydreaming and falling asleep
- Social, behavior, and learning problems
- Poor mood — irritable, agitated, or aggressive behaviors
- Difficulty gaining weight and slow growth
Treatment Options Available
The most common treatment is the surgical removal of swollen tonsils or adenoids, though there is some discussion about whether this treatment is effective. Depending on what is causing the obstruction and its severity, other options may be used. Surgery can correct malformations. Older children may be candidates for oral appliances because their facial growth is nearly complete. CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines may also be an option.
Listen to Your Gut
You know your child better than anyone. If you are concerned about their snoring or behavior problems, call today to schedule an evaluation. We serve Granger, Middlebury, Warsaw, and Plymouth, Indiana, and the surrounding area.