What to Do If A 7-Year-Old Snores


If your 7-year-old snores, it can be startling. Snoring is a problem usually associated with adults, not children. I wanted to know some strategies that would best help a 7-year-old who is snoring, so I did some research, and wanted to share it with you. 

So, what do you do if your 7-year-old snores? Since snoring can be caused by a variety of different things, you should try to fix it. First, identify what’s causing it. It may be an illness, fixable with some decongestants, or it may behoove you to buy a special pillow that relieves the pressure in their sinuses. Watch for something chronic, like sleep apnea. 

Snoring can be the result of lots of things, all of which you should watch for carefully. It is important to know what to look for, and what to do if you find it. 

How Snoring Works

Before we begin, it may be helpful to understand exactly what snoring is, and how it works. 

Inside your mouth and throat there are tons of different muscles that all relax when you sleep. Normally, your airway is totally open, allowing air to move freely as you inhale and exhale. It’s all very efficient. 

However, sometimes, that airway can be pinched shut. Lots of things can do this, most of which will be discussed later, but all of them cause there to be too little airflow. Your uvula rattles back and forth in the fluctuating air current, thus producing the classic snoring sound. 

7-year-olds don’t typically do this. It is usually abnormal if your 7-year-old is snoring, so it is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to discover the source. 

What to Look For During the Day 

When your child isn’t getting a good night’s rest, their daily behavior will change substantially. So there are a number of things you can watch for during the day that will alert you regarding their sleeping habits. 

Sleepy 

It is possible your child is exhibiting sleepy behavior. This is an indication that they are not sleeping as well as they should be at night. This also may be an indication that they wake up frequently. 

Won’t Get Up 

If you find that your child is difficult to get out of bed in the morning, this may be an indication that they aren’t sleeping as much as they need to at night. This is, again, most likely caused by frequent interruptions or waking up. 

Fall Asleep 

Most kids take naps, so it can be difficult to catch this. However, if you frequently find that your child has fallen asleep where he normally would not, such as school, that is a sign that he may not be sleeping at night like he needs to.

If your child often daydreams or has trouble paying attention, that is also an indication. 

Behavior 

Behavior is one of the most easily identifiable symptoms. My mother could always tell when I hadn’t slept the night before, because I would be angry and mean. If your child seems to be acting unusually mean, irritable, agitated, or aggressive, he probably isn’t sleeping enough.

It is also possible that your child has trouble learning new things, or they have social problems. 

Speaking 

Every person has a particular sound to their voice. This is down to vocal cords, the placement of the tongue when speaking, where the soft palate is, and where the air is going.

If your child speaks nasally and breathes primarily through his mouth, this may be an indication that the air isn’t going where it needs to. 

Some of these symptoms can also be indicators of other possible issues, so it is important that you observe your child at night as well as during the day.

Watch for whether or not your child tosses and turns, whether they snore as often or more than 3 days per week, breathing is interrupted by gasps or pauses longer than 10 seconds, frequent waking up, or bedwetting.

These are indicative that your child may have sleep apnea, which, if left untreated, could lead to other health problems later in life. 

What Causes Snoring 

As mentioned above, there are many reasons as to why your child may be snoring. It is important that you arm yourself with the knowledge below so that you can identify these symptoms if and when they arise in your 7-year-old. 

Respiratory Infection 

 If your child has a stuffy nose from a cold or allergies, it is likely that their snoring is caused by some blockage in the sinuses. This nasal blockage forces them to breathe through their mouth which can lead to snoring.

Enlarged Tonsils and Adenoids 

These are a leading cause of snoring in children, and a strong indication of potential obstructive sleep apnea. The swollen glands aid in blocking the airways making it difficult for your child to breathe comfortably through the night.  

Deviated Septum 

A deviated septum occurs when the airway of the two nostrils is offset or displaced. This makes breathing through the nose more difficult as one nostril’s passage is smaller than the other, reducing airflow and causing difficulty in breathing.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) 

Roughly 3% of children ages 1-9 have Obstructive Sleep Apnea. OSA is a serious condition in which airflow through the upper respiratory system becomes obstructed, making breathing extremely difficult. Children (and adults as well) who suffer from untreated OSA can have many associated health problems.

Difference between Primary Snoring and Sleep Apnea 

Participating in a sleep study in a pediatric sleep lab is the only way to definitively determine whether or not your child has sleep apnea. It’s important to have this procedure done at a pediatric facility.

They’ll use pediatric scoring and measure parameters like carbon dioxide levels to evaluate your child, which are most accurate. 

While some sleep apnea can be managed with medications and lifestyle changes, other children may need surgery. Often the removal of tonsils and adenoids are necessary to fix the problem.

Others may require positive airway pressure to fully treat obstructive sleep apnea.

Remedies For Snoring 

Now that you have studied what may be causing your child to snore, it is time to discover what to do to help your child start getting a better night’s sleep fast. 

Removing Allergy Triggers 

Several items in children’s bedrooms may trigger their allergies. For example, teddy bears carry a fantastically appalling amount of dust and dead skin particles.

It may behoove your little one to wash those on occasion. Pets may also trigger their allergies, and so might feather pillows or comforters. Always make sure bedding is cleaned at least once a week to avoid particle buildup. 

Medicines 

The common cold may be the causation of the stuffy nose from which your child so evidently suffers. By the power of today’s medicine, you can readily administer medicine that can solve the sniffles.

You can also obtain allergy medicines, to aid the suffering commonly experienced in the springtime. Either way, there are plenty of medications available to relieve the sinus congestion that can cause snoring. 

If you hesitate to get your child on a legitimate medication, another possible remedy would be a saline nasal rinse. My mother is a believer in this particular remedy, so I am intimately familiar with the process.

I can attest that it is absolutely miserable. It is so fantastically irritating that I always hesitate to choose this particular strategy.

However, nasal rinses work fascinatingly well, and I always do it at least once when I get sick.

If you choose the nasal rinse for your child, begin with saline bought from the store, or some that you’ve made yourself. Load the saline into a big syringe (not the kind with the needle).

Then you, or your child, should shoot the saline straight into the affected nose, pinching the opposite nostril shut. Then let the saline drip out.

If it goes down the throat, it will also help your 7-year-old to cough up the junk stuck there. 

This, of course, should all be done over a sink or tub so that the evidence can be quickly and efficiently discarded. They are miserable, but they work well.

Sometimes it’s easier to trade a few minutes of being wonderfully uncomfortable for a good night’s rest. 

Pillow 

Depending on your child’s circumstances, your pediatrician might recommend that you invest in a special pillow that will relieve the pressure in your 7-year-old’s noggin, and clear up the congestion within.

He may also recommend a mattress that does the same thing. 

Surgery 

It may be necessary to remove your 7-year-old’s tonsils and adenoids.

An adenoid is a mass of enlarged lymphatic tissue between the back of the nose and the throat, often hindering speaking and breathing in young children.

The best thing to do in that situation is to have them removed. However, things like sleep apnea can recur in up to 40% of patients that undergo this surgery. 

Sleep Study 

Your pediatrician may recommend a sleep study to help better understand the cause of your child’s snoring. The way a sleep study goes is that usually, your child and most likely their parent will go to a clinic, and your child will be attached to monitors that will measure things like brainwaves, heart rate, and breathing.

These are often difficult to sleep through, but they can provide a great deal more information regarding your 7-year-old’s specific condition. 

The bottom line is that if you have any concerns about your child’s snoring, or if he or she has regular snoring beyond a brief cold, talk to your pediatrician.

This is because it is not normal and can have long-term consequences if left untreated. He or she may refer your child to a pediatric otolaryngologist or a pediatric sleep center for further evaluation.

Other Sleep Disorders 

Sleeping is one of the most important functions of life. And yet, it is the most unattainable to some. There are several disorders that your child may have that loses them precious sleep. 

Insomnia 

Insomnia is by far the most common sleep disorder with approximately half of all people saying they have experienced symptoms occasionally, and about 10% of Americans report suffering from chronic insomnia.

Insomnia is characterized as having poor sleep quality due to one or more of the following:

  • Difficulty going to sleep at night
  • Waking often in the middle of the night with trouble returning to sleep
  • Waking earlier in the morning than planned or desired

Losing quality sleep regularly can lead to many troubles and difficulties experienced during the day. Some of the reported symptoms of insomnia are:

  • Feeling as if sleep was unrefreshing (non-restorative)
  • Experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness
  • General lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mood and behavior disturbances such as irritability, aggression, and impulsive behaviors
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Forgetfulness
  • Decreased performance at school
  • Decreased quality of life
  • Depression

Classifying insomnia varies on how long symptoms last and how often they occur. Acute insomnia is experiencing sleep loss over a short period of time, from one night to a few weeks.

Chronic insomnia is when poor sleep quality occurs at least 3 nights a week for a month or longer. 

Causes of insomnia can vary from being associated with a medical or psychiatric problem, environmental influences, stress and worry, or simply occurring without reason.

Restless Leg Syndrome

Approximately 10% of adults and 2% of children suffer from restless leg syndrome (RLS) to varying degrees.

RLS is a neurological disorder characterized by a persistent, sometimes overwhelming need to move one’s legs (and occasionally other body parts), usually while resting.

Sensations in the legs are often described as creeping, pulling, aching, itching, burning, and throbbing and the only relief is temporary movement or massaging of the legs.

Restless leg syndrome is classified as a sleep disorder because the constant need to move one’s legs during rest can have a severe impact on the ability to get to, and maintain, sleep.

Sleep loss is one of the most commonly reported side effects of RLS and leads to similar symptoms of sleep deprivation found in other disorders including diminished quality of life, excessive daytime sleepiness, memory impairment, cognitive impairment, and even depression.

Narcolepsy 

Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by the brain’s inability to control its sleep/wakefulness cycle.

Approximately 1 in 2,000 people suffer from narcolepsy with over 200,000 Americans suffering from it.

People with narcolepsy suffer from chronic daytime sleepiness and episodes in which they fall asleep unexpectedly during the day. These “sleep attacks” can occur at any time, during any activity.

Sleep attacks are not limited to periods of dull or low engagement activities, but can happen during school hours, in the middle of a conversation, while eating, or while exercising or playing sports.

A list of symptoms of narcolepsy can include:

  • Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS). EDS is the most common symptom of narcolepsy and usually the first symptom to appear (usually between the ages of 10-20 years old). EDS is characterized by a chronic persistence of feeling sleepy and involuntary episodes of falling asleep without warning. Sleep attack bouts can last anywhere from several seconds to several minutes. People with EDS report it as feelings of mental cloudiness, a lack of energy and concentration, a depressed mood, or extreme exhaustion. EDS occurs even if the patient appears to have gotten plenty of sleep the night before, and usually persists throughout the day.
  • Sleep Paralysis. Sleep Paralysis is the inability to move or speak while one is falling asleep or beginning to wake up. During sleep paralysis the sufferer is consciously aware of their surroundings but is unable to move because the body is still in REM sleep. During REM sleep, the voluntary muscles are “paralyzed” to keep people from being able to act out their dreams. Sleep paralysis usually lasts only a few seconds up to a few minutes with no permanent effects.
  • Cataplexy. Cataplexy is very similar to sleep paralysis in that there is an involuntary inability to move muscles or speak. While very similar to sleep paralysis in condition, it is usually onset by varying circumstances. Instead of occurring at the beginning or end of sleep, cataplexy can occur at any time during the waking period and is usually triggered by intense emotions such as surprise, fear, anger, stress, or even humor. Cataplexy can also occur in various degrees of severity ranging from a slight loss of motor functions such as weakness in the muscles or drooping eyelids to a complete loss of muscle tone resulting in physical falls and an inability to move or speak. During cataplectic attacks, sufferers are fully conscious of the event but unable to control it.
  • Hallucinations. Sufferers of narcolepsy can experience hallucinations during times when they are waking from sleep (hypnopompic) or during sleep onset (hypnogogic). The hallucinations are often very vivid and can even be frightening
  • Disturbed nocturnal sleep. It may seem counterintuitive to believe that sufferers of narcolepsy would have had any trouble sleeping at night, but one of the most common symptoms is fragmented sleep. Just as people with narcolepsy have trouble staying awake during the day, they often have difficulty staying asleep at night. They can wake up to four or five times up to 10 or 20 minutes with no clear reason. Their sleep can be disturbed by insomnia, vivid dreaming, sleep talking, acting out while dreaming, and periodic limb movements.

Related Questions 

Can a 7-year-old have insomnia? 7-year-olds can indeed have insomnia. This can be chronic or can last for several days or weeks. Your child may suffer from insomnia especially if they worry a lot. 

Is the surgery to remove tonsils dangerous? The surgery to remove tonsils, a tonsillectomy, is an extremely common surgery. It may be scary for your child to go into surgery, and every surgery has a risk but it is not the most dangerous thing a surgeon will perform that day. 

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