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Does Your Child Snore?

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Dr. Nina L. Shapiro: Most of us, at some point, have nudged, kicked, or ever so gently pushed our bed partner out of bed because of snoring. In adults, snoring is mostly annoying to the person hearing it, whereby we may resort to earplugs, sound machines, or even separate bedrooms to get some sleep.

child snoring in sleep

But did you know that children who snore might have a serious problem? In order to get a grasp of this, we need to understand what snoring is:

Snoring is the noise created when there is some blockage in the air passages during sleep, anywhere from the nose to the top of the voice box. It implies that there is some "turbulence" in the airflow. In children, the most common sources of this blockage are enlarged tonsils and adenoids, or nasal stuffiness from a cold or allergies.

While snoring is not normal per se, it is usually not dangerous and is nothing to worry about. If your child has a little "noisiness" when they sleep (usually described as a "light snore"), this is not a big deal. BUT, if the snoring is loud, where your child struggles to breathe, has snoring that is so loud you can hear it with the door closed, read on.

When a child has loud snoring, cute as it may sound, it oftentimes implies that there is a disruption in his or her sleep. If your child is snoring loudly, having periods of gasping, choking, or apnea (where they stop breathing for 3 to 15 seconds, followed by a big snore or gasp), they are not getting QUALITY sleep. While you may be diligent about sticking to that bedtime, 11 hours of restless, struggling sleep may add up to only 6 hours of actual sleep time.

The quality (not just quantity) of your child's sleep is so important. Poor sleep quality has been found to be linked to poor daytime behavior, irritability, poor grades, and even signs of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder.

So before you close your door, and get a moment to yourself after your child has fallen asleep, take a listen. Silence? Great! Noise? Take two aspirin and call your doctor in the morning.

next: The Military's Mental Health Crisis
5 comments so far | Post a comment now
messymom May 15, 2009, 5:40 PM

thanks for this helpful article

artmom May 16, 2009, 4:30 PM

Great article, clear very helpful and reassuring. Deals with common problem that gets little attention. Thanks for this article

Charles May 17, 2009, 6:44 PM

It’s sad that children actually snore. I just always associate it with something older people have.

Breanna June 16, 2009, 12:44 PM

I am a teenager and I snore loudly. It is a extreme embarrasement when I go to sleepovers or if I accidently fall asleep in class. My parents always overlook it because they think its natural, but Maybe if I show them this article they’ll take me to the doctor and get it checked out.

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