Does Your Child Snore Too Often? New Study Says It’s A Matter Of Concern

Sameer C
·6-min read

Have you had one of those days when your kid has been hyperactive throughout the day? He’s played games to his heart’s content, had a belly full of his favourite food, and is now all set to hit the sack. In no time, your little bundle of energy is completely zonked. And you know he is tired with the loud snores he’s passing with every breath.

Don’t they just look adorable when they do that? A child’s snoring isn’t so much a ‘problem’ when it happens occasionally. But if your child is snoring several times a week without necessarily a hyperactive day, that’s a pattern you need to pay attention to. Because what may seem like a regular activity may be harmful to your little one.

At least that’s what a recent study says about the child snoring solutions.

A recent study published in the journal Nature Communications found a link between frequent snoring and structural brain changes in children.

It also connected snoring with behavioural issues like hyperactivity and inattention. Here’s a detailed look at what the study concluded and child snoring solutions to put your concerns at rest.

Child Snoring Solutions And Problems: Its Effect On Behavioural Regulation

child snoring solutions
child snoring solutions

Image courtesy: iStock

The researchers looked at data from MRI brain images of more than 10,000 children in the US between the age of nine and 10 years. The study also included data from these children’s parents on how often their kids snore and the standard checklists used to measure several different areas of childhood behaviour.

The study found that children who regularly snore – at least three or more times per week – had thinner gray matter in several areas of their brains. This included areas that help manage reasoning and impulse control.

This is particularly important because these are parts of the brain responsible for behavioural regulation, according to study researcher Dr Amal Isaiah, an associate professor of otorhinolaryngology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He further said that these areas of the brain are responsible for behavioural regulation.

Dr Isaiah also suggests that frequent snorers tend to exhibit increasing severity of problem behaviours. His hypothesis is that snoring in a child means that air is not flowing freely. As a result, the child is either waking up frequently, and it could change the way a child’s blood carries oxygen to the brain. Snoring would mean that the brain is not getting enough of oxygen.

While linking snoring with brain changes and potential behavioural issues children isn’t exactly new, this is the largest study to date that confirms the connection, says Dr Isaiah.

Cause Of Snoring In Children

About 30 percent of children have minor, occasional snoring, while about 10-12 percent of children experience primary snoring, which occurs over two nights per week and happens frequently through the night.

Children suffering from sleep apnea could also snore at night. The sleep disorder causes the child to repeatedly stop and start breathing when they are asleep, which could cause the snoring.

Your child might also snore if they have a cold or a blocked nose that will narrow your child’s airways. In most cases, the snoring stops after the cold has been treated and the nose is unblocked.

Another reason could be large tonsils and adenoids, which could make your child prone to snoring when asleep.

Child Snoring Solutions

child snoring solutions
child snoring solutions

Image courtesy: iStock

Much like adults, child snoring solutions do exist. In several cases, you can control it by making a few changes to your child’s sleep environment that will help alleviate snoring or decrease the negative impact of fragmented sleep.

  • If your child is sleeping on his back, encourage him to sleep on his side instead that will help with the snoring.

  • You can get your child to try a corticosteroid nasal spray for a blocked nose that is causing the snoring.

  • Snoring could also be caused by sudden weight gain, which is common in the post-pandemic era. You might want to start a gentle exercise regime or a weight loss program. Make sure to speak to your doctor before making any diet restrictions.

  • For snoring caused by enlarged adenoids and tonsils, or a nose obstruction, you may have to speak to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist, who will guide you about getting surgery to resolve the issue.

Child Snoring Solutions: 5 Ways To Get Kids To Sleep Better

A child snoring solution not only includes medications and lifestyle change, but getting him/her a full night’s sleep. This will keep them active, healthy and alert throughout the day. Here are five ways you can get your kids to sleep better.

1. Bedtime routine

A fixed bedtime routine encourages good sleeping pattern in kids. Most experts suggest that children should have a bedtime routine by the age of three years, which they can automatically follow as they grow old. It also sets the body clock that will crave sleep after a certain hour. The bedtime routine generally comprises a bath, story and bed.

2. Relax before hitting the bed

To put your child to sleep, you need to calm them down before bedtime so they go to sleep as soon as they are covered with a blanket.

This could include dimming the lights, playing gentle music or practising breathing exercises for relaxation. You can read them a storybook while they are tucked to put them to sleep.

3. Creating a safe space before bedtime

It’s also necessary that you create a safe space before your child goes to bed in order to avoid nightmares. This includes watching scary TV shows and movies or even playing video games that are grim or violent.

As a principle, turn off all electronic devices around your child at least two hours before bedtime.

child snoring solutions
child snoring solutions

Image courtesy: Pexels

4. Get plenty of light in the day

Allow your child to play in the sun and spend time in natural light during the day as much as possible. Bright light suppresses melatonin that helps your child feel awake during the day.

At the same time, the dim light at night will ensure they feel sleepy as soon as he hits the bed.

5. Avoid sugar and energy drinks

Aerated drinks have a high content of sugar and caffeine, both of which are best avoided by children. Encourage your child to not consume energy drinks or cola in the late afternoon or evening, which could potentially disturb their sleep cycle.

Parents, you do not need to panic if your child is snoring regularly. It is not a life-threatening concern but at the same time do not ignore the signs altogether. Make sure to ask the paediatrician on your next appointment, since it could be disrupting their sleep that will make them lethargic throughout the day.

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