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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What can I do to help my child stop snoring?

    My son is a loud snorer. We moved to a rural area and a doctor suggested that my sons persistent cough and snoring at night could be attributed to reactive airways. He is now on Singulair tablets for asthma.
    My son has learning problems and sensory issues and was prescribed melatonin which has been fabulous. However, even after 11 hours of sleep he wakes tired and irritable. Rather than falling asleep when he is tired he gets very hyperactive.

    Last year his tonsils and adenoids were removed but still he snores. We got into a sleep study but he had a very good sleep that night and results concluded no issues with oxygen- they did say that his nasal passages were a little small. Since then we have:
    *sewn pingpong balls into back of pjs so he cannot sleep on back (snoring is worse)
    *bought air purifier
    *using steroid nasal spray
    *giving fish oil and B vitamins
    Any suggestions on where to go next? Would love to help him get some better sleep before he starts school next year. Thanks
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1




    A/Prof Larry Kalish

    Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon

    At least 80% of childhood snoring will be cured or improved by removing the adenoids and tonsils. The remaining snorers have other causes such as central apneas or hypotonia (weak muscles) but this would have been detected in the sleep study. A normal sleep study is very reassuring and means that your child does get proper sleep on some occassions. Ask why he slept so well on that night? What did you do differently? most people sleep worse when they have all the devices attached to them.
    We are also seeing adult like snoring in chldren who are overweight. Our approach is the same as for adults, start by maximising nasal function (good nose breathing) and weight loss.
    We are also more proactive in managing children with nasal obstruction who fail steroid sprays and have had an adenoidectomy. We have had good success surgically addressing the turbinates and residual intranasal adenoids.
    Also remember that issues falling asleep are not the same as sleep apnea. Watch you chlid sleep at different times of the night on different days. Try and see if his snoring is positional, associated with colds or blocked nose, if it occurs all night or only at certain times. All this information is very useful for your treating doctor.

  • 4


    The Sleep Health Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of ‘valuing sleep’ as part of a healthy lifestyle alongside regular exercise, a … View Profile

    You can find out more about children and sleep on the Sleep Health Foundation website here.

  • 6


    Sharon Moore

    Speech Pathologist

    I am a Speech Pathologist with 30 years clinical experience, working over the years with a wide range of clients with communication and swallowing disorders. … View Profile

    I agree with Dr Kalish's detailed answer to this question and would like to chime in a little on the ‘muscle’ component of his answer. I am not sure how old your son is (5 years old?), but fequently children who have had large tonsils and adenoids, have developed orofacial muscle habits including: forward tongue posture for rest position and various functions,  swallowing chewing speech and  breathing. These muscle habits do not change automatically after the tonsils and adenoids are removed, and are often seen  in conjunction with weak or low slung oropharyngeal and nasopharyngeal musculature. The pharyngeal muscles are in the region at the upper/back of the mouth/nose where snoring can occur. If this is the case with your son, some exercises to retrain these orofacial muscles and habits can help with snoring.

  • 3


    Dr David McIntosh

    Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon

    David McIntosh is an Australian trained ENT surgeon with international experience. His areas of interest are paediatrics, nose and sinus disease, and providing access to … View Profile

    As an ENT, I used to think we had all the answers with surgery, but as time has gone by I have come to appreciate the importance of team work and having a wholistic approach. There are many things you have mentioned that new research is helping us help kids better than we could before.

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