What Causes Snoring in Kids?

Last updated:


Parents often wonder what triggers snoring in their kids, striving to guarantee their little ones get the restful and undisturbed sleep they need. In this blog post, we delve into the various factors contributing to childhood snoring, distinguishing between occasional and habitual occurrences.

We will explore obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) as the primary cause of habitual snoring in children, examining how enlarged tonsils and adenoids or a deviated nasal septum can lead to airway obstruction. Furthermore, we discuss the potential daytime behavioral issues resulting from poor-quality sleep due to nighttime disturbances.

To help concerned parents take action, our discussion includes diagnostic methods for identifying OSA in children through physical examinations and polysomnography testing. We also outline effective treatment options such as adenotonsillectomy and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices. Finally, we provide practical preventative measures that may reduce snoring in kids by promoting healthy weight management and adjusting sleeping positions for better airflow.


The Shocking Truth About Childhood Snoring

Did you realize that 10% of children snore, and it could be a signifier of an intense sleep disorder?

Occasional vs. Habitual Snoring

Snoring caused by a cold or allergies is occasional, but if your child snores more than three nights a week, it could be habitual and a sign of sleep apnea.

The Risks of Regular Snoring

  • Brain Development: Regular snoring can affect a child's memory and problem-solving skills.
  • School Performance: Poor sleep quality can lead to lower grades and difficulty concentrating in class.
  • Mood & Behavior: Snoring can cause mood swings, irritability, and even ADHD-like symptoms.

Don't ignore your child's snoring - talk to their doctor or visit a children's hospital specializing in sleep disorders for help.

Common Risk Factors for Snoring in Kids

Childhood snoring can be attributed to various factors, some of which may increase the likelihood of a child experiencing sleep-disordered breathing.

Obesity as a contributing factor

Excess body weight can lead to fat deposits around the neck and throat area, causing airway obstruction during sleep.

Encouraging your child to maintain a healthy weight through regular physical activity and balanced nutrition can help reduce their risk of developing sleep apnea or other related issues.

Alcohol consumption affecting children's sleep quality

Alcohol relaxes muscles throughout the body - including those responsible for maintaining an open airway during sleep - increasing the chances of disrupted breathing patterns at night.

Educating your child about responsible drinking habits when they reach an appropriate age could prevent future complications linked with excessive alcohol use.

Tonsils and adenoids blocking airways

If your child snores frequently, one possible cause could be enlarged tonsils or adenoids obstructing airflow while they are asleep.

Consulting with a medical professional can help ascertain whether the snoring is due to enlarged tonsils or adenoids impeding air flow during sleep, and provide suitable treatments.

Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy are common procedures to reduce snoring caused by enlarged tonsils or adenoids.

Deviated nasal septum contributing to snoring

A deviated nasal septum can lead to difficulties in breathing during sleep, resulting in increased snoring.

If you suspect that your child has a deviated septum, it is essential to consult with children's hospital for proper diagnosis and potential corrective procedures.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea - Primary Cause of Habitual Snoring

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the main culprit behind your child's frequent snoring, caused by enlarged tonsils and adenoids blocking the airway during sleep, leading to disrupted breathing patterns and daytime behavioral issues.

Symptoms associated with obstructive sleep apnea:

  • Loud and persistent snoring.
  • Gaps in breathing or gasping for air during sleep.
  • Restless tossing and turning throughout the night.
  • Mouth breathing or excessive drooling while asleep.
  • Night sweats or bedwetting episodes.
  • (source)

Daytime behavioral issues linked to OSA:

  1. Irritability, mood swings, and aggression.
  2. (source)

Consult your child's physician and arrange a sleep assessment at a pediatric hospital to determine if snoring or other sleeping disorders are present.

If your child snores often, it could indicate a potential sleep disorder such as childhood snoring or OSA, which can cause breathing difficulties and other health issues.

Physical Examination for Sleep Disorders

A physical examination by your child's doctor can help identify underlying causes like enlarged tonsils or adenoids, obesity, or allergies.

Polysomnography as a Diagnostic Tool

Polysomnography, commonly known as a "sleep study," is a comprehensive test that monitors brain activity, heart rate, and respiratory effort throughout the night to identify specific patterns indicative of OSA or other sleep disorders.

  • Sleep Study at Home: Some children can complete their polysomnograms using portable equipment within the comfort of their own bedrooms.
  • Sleep Study in a Lab: In some cases, children may need to complete their sleep study at a specialized sleep lab or children's hospital.

Subsequent to your child's sleep study, you and the pediatrician will collaborate on a treatment plan tailored to the results in order to minimize snoring and better their sleeping.

Treatment Options for Childhood OSA and Snoring

If your child snores frequently, it could be a sign of sleep-disordered breathing or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which can be treated with an adenotonsillectomy procedure.

An adenotonsillectomy involves removing both the child's tonsils and adenoids in a single operation, which has been shown to improve airflow obstruction and reduce snoring.

Positive outcomes of surgery include improved sleep quality, daytime behavior, cognitive function, and academic performance, but there are possible complications such as infection or bleeding, and some children may continue experiencing sleep apnea or snoring even after successful removal of their tonsils and adenoids.

Parents should keep up with regular check-ups with their kid's physician to track advancement and address any potential issues that may come about after the operation.

It is important to consult with your child's doctor in order to create a personalized plan of care and ensure the best possible outcome.

For more information, visit childrenshospital.org.

Alternative Approaches to Reducing Snoring in Kids

Weight Management Strategies

Childhood obesity is a significant risk factor for sleep-disordered breathing, including obstructive sleep apnea. Motivate your youngster to keep up a sound weight through customary physical activity and an adjusted eating regimen.

Sleep Position Adjustments

Avoid sleeping flat on the back and encourage your child to sleep on their side by placing pillows behind them or using anti-snore pillows.

CPAP Therapy

  • Doctors may prescribe CPAP devices that deliver continuous airflow through a mask worn during sleep to reduce snoring.
  • Ongoing studies are assessing whether treating snoring or mild breathing problems during sleep can improve related health conditions such as asthma and allergies.

If your child's snoring persists, consult with a pediatric sleep specialist at a children's hospital to discuss further diagnostic tests and potential treatments.

FAQs in Relation to What Causes Snoring in Kids

What Causes Snoring in Kids?

Snoring in children can be caused by enlarged tonsils and adenoids, obesity, deviated nasal septum, or allergies.


What Does Snoring Mean for Kids?

Occasional snoring is harmless, but frequent or loud snoring might signal an underlying issue like obstructive sleep apnea, which can lead to daytime behavioral issues and academic struggles due to inadequate rest.


When Is Snoring a Concern in Children?

Snoring becomes a concern when it occurs frequently or disrupts the child's quality of sleep, potentially leading to gasping for air during sleep, restless tossing and turning at night, difficulty waking up in the morning, and daytime drowsiness.


Is Snoring Normal for 7-Year-Olds?

Occasional mild snoring is normal for 7-year-olds, but persistent loud snores accompanied by other symptoms like mouth breathing and interrupted breathing patterns could indicate an underlying health issue that requires medical attention.



Parents and caregivers must understand what causes snoring in kids to ensure they get a good night's sleep.

Occasional snoring is not a big deal, but habitual snoring can indicate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which can lead to daytime behavioral issues.

The primary cause of OSA in children is enlarged tonsils and adenoids or deviated nasal septum.

Diagnosis involves physical examination and polysomnography testing, while treatment options include adenotonsillectomy or CPAP devices for severe cases of OSA.

Preventative measures such as encouraging healthy weight management and adjusting sleep positions can also help reduce snoring in children.

Sign up to our newsletter and enjoy 10% off one order

Which product do I need?