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5 Common Causes of Snoring in Children

child snoring

Parents who are aware of some of the causes of snoring in children should take action before it becomes a problem that affects their kids during the day.  While snoring is usually not a serious sleeping disorder, it can have serious side effects.  According the National Sleep Foundation, children with sleep apnea, which causes snoring in many children, may exhibit the following day-time symptoms:

  • Trouble concentrating at school
  • Chronic tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Irritable and aggressive behavior

What causes snoring in children?

Snoring is the vibrating noise that comes from a child’s breathing passage when it is obstructed.  During the day, the muscles that hold a child’s nose, throat, and mouth open to air are active and allow the average child to breathe freely.  At night these muscles relax, restricting the breathing passages of the nose, throat, and mouth.  Under normal circumstances, this in itself does not cause your child to snore.  Some of the common causes of snoring in children include the following: allergies, obesity, nasal congestion, tonsillitis, or sleep apnea.

Let’s take a closer look at what might be causing your child to snore:


Allergies may cause a child’s airways to become obstructed and therefore cause snoring. If your child is induced into a deep sleep by medication, that may cause the muscles in the back of the throat to relax unnaturally and restrict the passage of air into the lungs.  Seasonal allergies may be the reason why your child tends to snore at certain times of the year more than others.


Childhood obesity not only causes a host of health risks, but may also restrict the proper functioning of the diaphragm and inhibits natural breathing during the night.  Obesity also causes extra fat to build around a child’s throat which narrows the airways, causing snoring.  This is another reason why a healthy diet and regular exercise is important for children of all ages.

Nasal Congestion

When a child is forced to breathe through his or her mouth due to nasal congestion, snoring can occur. The common cold is the main reason for this cause of snoring.  Mucus that builds in the nose due to a cold can block up the nasal passages.  Another cause for nasal congestion might be allergies or inflammation of the nose.


Swollen tonsils also narrow the passage of air and cause snoring.  A child’s tonsils might become swollen for any number of reasons including allergies, tonsillitis, bronchitis, or the common cold.  Snoring due to inflammation of the tonsils can be especially uncomfortable for children.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea occurs when a child stops breathing in his or her sleep for several seconds. Disturbance in the natural breathing pattern can cause snoring, shortness of breath, and abnormal sleeping positions.  Parents should seek medical advice before attempting to treat sleep apnea or any of the above causes of snoring in children.

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