Loud, sleep-interrupting snoring may seem like an adult-specific issue, but children aren’t immune. About 20% of kids snore from time to time, and in most cases, there’s no reason to be concerned by the nighttime noises. But if snorting or gasping sounds accompany the snoring, it could be a sign of a larger issue: sleep apnea .
The condition, which causes pauses in breathing throughout the night due to the obstruction of airways, affects one percent to 10 percent of children. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart trouble, and poor growth, but luckily, there are a number of treatments available. One of the most common causes of sleep apnea in children is enlarged tonsils. If a doctor determines that this is what’s responsible for a child’s excessive snoring, he or she may surgically remove the tonsils. And because sleep apnea is more prevalent in overweight kids, a weight loss program could also help.If neither of these options is successful, doctors may recommend continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). This involves the child wearing a CPAP mask during the night, which blows air into the airways to keep them open, helping to end the snoring.