Mythbuster: Snoring Means Sleep Apnea?

by Laura Flynn Mccarthy

Mythbuster: Snoring Means Sleep Apnea?

What you’ve heard:

“Snoring is a sign of sleep apnea.”

The truth:

Only rarely. Most kids snore sometimes, and usually it means nothing. The culprit: often a simple cold, when mucus and swollen glands can block the airways.

In just 3 percent of young snorers (mostly 2- to 6-year-olds), obstructions like enlarged tonsils are so severe they cause apnea, in which breathing stops for at least six seconds during sleep. It can rob kids of the rest they need, affecting their behavior and concentration.

Talk to your doctor if your child snores a lot—loudly—or if he stops breathing for seconds at a time, and then gasps or coughs. A tonsillectomy is likely in order. If the cause turns out to be asthma or allergies, treating the underlying condition often helps.