Baby  sleeping on a high chair

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It’s 2:00 am, and something’s woken you.  It sounds like a colony of bullfrogs, or perhaps a marching band.  But then, you realize that people are snoring — in every room in your own house.

It’s bad enough that your husband snores like a wild man, but now you recognize that your child is snoring as well!  Out of curiosity, you mention the problem to your pediatrician, who tells you that children who snore should be checked for possible underlying concerns.

Is snoring usually genetic?  Actually, if one parent is a snorer, the kid is three times more likely to also snore. There are, however, several other causes of childhood snoring.  For example, kids who suffer from atopy, a predisposition to  allergies and asthma, are twice as likely to snore.

Tests have proven that children who snore may face an increased risk of having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other health related problems.  After researching many children, these same studies have indicated that African American children are three times as likely to snore than their  Caucasian, Asian, or Biracial counterparts.

Medical conditions

As childhood snoring is often indicative of more serious problems, your pediatrician or family doctor must determine if your son or daughter suffers from other medical conditions.  Childhood snoring can be a symptom of a sleep disorder that may pose long-term effects.  Although seemingly unrelated, sleep disorders in children can indicate an additional risk of behavioral problems,  learning disabilities,  or even cardiovascular concerns.   Generally, early intervention can make a big difference to the education and overall well being of your child.

There are other reasons to investigate the basis of childhood snoring.  Studies have shown that the shape of a person’s head will affect the snoring mechanism. Children and adults with rounder heads are more prone to snore than their counterparts with longer, thinner-shaped heads. Even in children, excess weight and snoring also go hand in hand.  Being overweight increases the size of the neck, thus increases the amount of fatty tissue in the throat.  This additional tissue vibrates and causes the noise.

Another culprit is second hand smoke.   The airway becomes irritated and can produce a snoring problem.  Other causes of childhood snoring are nasal obstructions such as polyps, and enlarged  adenoids or tonsils.  Other children only snore when they are sick.  The common cold will constrict the nasal passages and trigger snoring, but the condition should pass as soon as the cold has run its course.

Effects

Other than the causes, there are serious effects of childhood snoring that must be considered.  Normally, sleep disruption can cause the school-aged child to face special challenges in the classroom.   Without a sufficient amount of deep sleep, he or she will feel less alert and have problem concentrating.  The effect can be lower grades, reduced classroom participation and even behavioral problems.

Whether you determine the cause of the snoring on your own, or take your child to see a pediatrician or doctor, it’s important to address the issue and relieve the causes.  Childhood snoring may be caused by illness, weight, allergies  or even lifestyle.  Remove the external causes, and speak to your healthcare practitioner about any underlying concerns.

Work with your son or daughter to fight the problem of childhood snoring.  Both of you will sleep better for it!

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