Dr Mark Rosenthal

MD MB ChB FRCP FRCPCH BSc

Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine

also specialist in Food Allergies & Disorders of Sleep

A | A | A

T: 0207 351 8832

E: s.harvey@rbht.nhs.uk

A:The Royal Brompton Hospital, London, SW3 6NP

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Snoring is quite common and it is usually harmless. About one in ten children snore most of the time, while others may snore occasionally when they have a blocked nose. However, snoring can sometimes be associated with sleep disorders in children, so if your child’s sleep seems disturbed it could be causing a problem.

What Causes Snoring in Children?

When your child is asleep, the muscles that support the airway at the back of his or her throat will be relaxed. This can allow the fleshy tissue at the back of the throat to move as the breath passes, which produces the sound known as snoring. Sometimes a child who doesn’t usually snore can begin to do so, usually as a result of nasal congestion. This kind of snoring will usually last only as long as the cold or infection that is causing it. Other children snore all of the time, just as some adults are prone to snoring.

Routine snoring isn’t usually a problem as long as it isn’t preventing your child from getting a good night’s rest. However, snoring can be linked with sleep disorders in children, which do need to be investigated. If your child is waking up frequently, if their mood or alertness is being affected during the day, it is worth consulting a doctor. It may be possible to identify a treatable cause, such as enlarged tonsils or adenoids that might need to be removed. In other cases, the doctor might recommend weight loss, or treatment for allergic rhinitis or an infection.

Is Snoring Serious?

Although snoring can have just as significant an effect on wellbeing as other sleep disorders in children, it isn’t usually a sign of a serious problem. However, snoring that is associated with sleep apnoea can be serious. If you notice long pauses in breathing or that your child is choking or gasping for breath while sleeping, it is important to see a doctor.

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