June 14, 2021 4 min read

Occasional snoring is common and usually nothing to worry about. Up to half of all adults and almost just as many children snore from time to time. But when habitual and when it starts to affect health and functioning, snoring becomes a problem —  particularly if it starts at a young age. Here is why you may need to pay more attention to it.

Why Snoring Can Be Bad

Snoring is the harsh sound we make when tissues in the upper airway flutter during sleep. Nearly everyone snores from time to time due to a stuffy nose, sleep deprivation, or drinking alcohol, among other triggers. But when snoring becomes habitual, it could indicate an underlying problem:

  • Blocked nasal airway
  • Large tonsils and adenoids
  • Elongated soft palate
  • Deviated septum
  • Being overweight
  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

While snoring is often a symptom of the above conditions,  it can also be a problem in and of itself. Snoring is strongly associated with poor sleep quality, lower functioning, and a greater risk of coronary artery disease and depression. 

Snoring in Children and Young Adults

Many people view snoring as an age-related problem, i.e. that it mostly concerns older adults. But snoring in children and young adults is also relatively common and shouldn’t be overlooked either

Research shows that persistent loud snoring in toddlers is associated with behavioral problems, like inattention, hyperactivity, and depression. In this age group, tobacco smoke, allergies, and not having been breastfed seem to be risk factors.

Furthermore, a study of 70 children with primary snoring found that as much as a third had progressed to OSA over 4 years. The same could hold true for adolescents and young adults as studies often show snoring and sleep apnea become progressively worse over time. 

The problem with letting snoring progress to where it interferes with breathing and sleep is that it can lead to future health problems down the line and become difficult to treat. The longer you let snoring interfere with breathing and sleep, the greater your risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, and poor mental health. That’s why it’s particularly concerning when persistent snoring starts at a young age. 

Steps You Can Take to Stop Snoring

To figure out if you or a loved one are experiencing problem snoring, ask yourself the following:

Do you snore at least three times a week?

Does your snoring affect other people?

Does your snoring wake you up frequently?

Do you feel tired and sleepy even after getting enough sleep?

If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, this could point to a snoring problem. Getting an official diagnosis from a licensed medical professional is the next step you need to take. As explained, snoring can be a result of many underlying problems, and knowing what exactly is behind snoring is the first step towards finding the right snoring solutions. 

You may also consider taking the following measures: 

Sleep on your side 

Research shows that people with primary snoring (nonapneaic snorers) snore less when sleeping on the side than in the supine position. 

Avoid sedatives 

Alcohol and other sedatives can worsen snoring in those who are prone to it, especially if taken before bedtime. 

Improve indoor air quality

Air purifiers and humidifiers can help reduce snoring caused by allergies in both children and adults.

Consider oral appliances

Also known as snoring mouthpieces, oral appliances include mandibular-advancement devices andtongue-stabilizing devices. These help reduce adult snoring by gently keeping the tongue in place.

The sooner you start addressing snoring as more than a nuance, the greater your chances of restorative sleep and, subsequent, greater-well being.




J.G. Park. Snoring.Encyclopedia of Sleep. Academic Press. 2013; 265-268doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-378610-4.00319-3.

Beebe DW, Rausch J, Byars KC, Lanphear B, Yolton K. Persistent snoring in preschool children: predictors and behavioral and developmental correlates. Pediatrics. 2012;130(3):382-389.doi:10.1542/peds.2012-0045

Snoring. Mayo Clinic website. Accessed May 20, 2021.https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/snoring/symptoms-causes/syc-20377694

Bhattacharyya N. Sleep and health implications of snoring: A populational analysis.Laryngoscope. 2015;125(10):2413-2416.doi:10.1002/lary.25346

Dalmasso F, Prota R. Snoring: analysis, measurement, clinical implications and applications.Eur Respir J. 1996;9(1):146-159.doi:10.1183/09031936.96.09010146

Beebe DW, Rausch J, Byars KC, Lanphear B, Yolton K. Persistent snoring in preschool children: predictors and behavioral and developmental correlates.Pediatrics. 2012;130(3):382-389.doi:10.1542/peds.2012-0045

Li AM, Zhu Y, Au CT, Lee DLY, Ho C, Wing YK. Natural history of primary snoring in school-aged children: a 4-year follow-up study.Chest. 2013;143(3):729-735.doi:10.1378/chest.12-1224

Berger G, Berger R, Oksenberg A. Progression of snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea: the role of increasing weight and time [published correction appears in Eur Respir J. 2009 Apr;33(4):947].Eur Respir J. 2009;33(2):338-345.doi:10.1183/09031936.00075408

Nakano H, Ikeda T, Hayashi M, Ohshima E, Onizuka A. Effects of body position on snoring in apneic and nonapneic snorers.Sleep. 2003;26(2):169-172. doi:10.1093/sleep/26.2.169

Kannan JA, Brokamp C, Bernstein DI, et al. Parental Snoring and Environmental Pollutants, but Not Aeroallergen Sensitization, Are Associated with Childhood Snoring in a Birth Cohort.Pediatr Allergy Immunol Pulmonol. 2017;30(1):31-38.doi:10.1089/ped.2016.0681

Also in Blog

Should You Wake Someone Who Is Snoring?
Should You Wake Someone Who Is Snoring?

May 08, 2024 3 min read

Your spouse, a friend, a roommate or a fellow passenger on a long flight is snoring, but should you wake someone in this state?
Read More
exhausted mom sleeping in bed
A Mothers Vital Need for a Good Night's Sleep

April 26, 2024 2 min read

Read More
man lying in bed with mouthpiece on night stand
Do Mouthpieces Work for Sleep Apnea?

April 23, 2024 3 min read

An estimated 80% of people prescribed CPAP therapy don’t adhere to it and look for other forms of relief. Lucky for them, mouthpieces can be an effective sleep apnea solution.

Read More