At least 10 percent of children snore on a regular basis. Snoring is caused by vibration of the tissues in the nasal passages and may be worse with colds, allergies, or in children who have gastroesophageal reflux. While the majority of children who snore do not have a serious underlying sleep disorder, 1-3% of all children actually have a condition called obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), in which the airway is periodically blocked during sleep, sometimes causing fragmented sleep or low oxygen levels in the bloodstream. Children with OSAS may have problems with growth, with learning, and may either be abnormally tired or excessively hyper. OSAS may be diagnosed with an overnight sleep study and, if present, most children will respond to surgical removal of the tonsils and the adenoids.
An overnight sleep study is a painless test that involves placing sensors on the scalp, face, and body to monitor sleep quality, air flow at the nose and mouth, heart rate, oxygen levels, and movement of the chest and the abdomen.
It is important to talk with your provider and ask about further evaluation if snoring is present with additional problems of:
- ADD or ADHD
- Difficulties with gaining weight
- Witnessed apnea (snoring with pauses or gasps in breathing)
- Abnormal tiredness
- Restless sleeping with unusual position of the body during sleep