ADHD in Children. Or is it just snoring?

ADHD in Children. Or is it just snoring?

Recent studies of ADHD have pointed to behavior problems, inattention, and crankiness in children as part of the ADHD syndrome. However these behaviors are also seen in children who snore. Even children expertly diagnosed ADHD, some cleared up their ADHD when the snoring was relieved.

In one study, after tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy done for snoring and mouth breathing, 50% of the children who were diagnosed ADHD before surgery, no longer had symptoms.
Here the diagnosis of ADHD had been made by careful behavioral, cognitive and psychiatric tests. Thus, a child with loud snoring that exhibits ADHD behavior may be simply sleep deprived and may recover when the sleep problem is corrected, even when the tests are positive for this diagnosis!

Dr Judith Owens, head of the Children’s National Medical Center Sleep Clinic reports in the Journal of Pediatrics that loud snoring in toddlers could signal serious underlying health problems like hyper activity and attention deficit disorders.

Snoring in children has been a concern for years. Snoring may be a sign of obstructive sleep disorder, where the breathing passage is blocked and less air/oxygen gets to the body.

Occasional snoring due to a cold is not a problem. Of concern is the constant loud snoring, the child that gasps for breath in sleep, or the periods when the breathing actually stops in sleep.

Common causes of snoring include:
• Allergy
• Sinus infection
• Enlarged adenoids
• Enlarged tonsils
• Acid reflux

The snoring child who doesn’t get good sleep often shows:
• Irritability
• Unpleasant breath
• Poor attention
• School difficulty
• Poor growth
• Inattention

Some children with snoring show poor growth. This can occur because the nose and throat are obstructed so that eating is tasteless and uncomfortable. Recall when your nose is plugged; the savory hamburger has no real taste because you can’t smell it with a plugged up nose. Worse, continued snoring can change the physiology and make snoring worse. For example, obstructive snoring can develop into acid reflux.

. Note that when a child snores from age 4 to 5, that is about 20% of her entire life span; the important part in growing and learning. Constant mouth breathing can effect the jaw/face development and may necessitate the need for orthodonture.

I have heard this scenario for years: “Before she snored, she was sweet, laughing, with nice breath. Now she doesn’t smile, she is cranky, inattentive, tired and sleepy. She is not thriving. Teachers complain of her poor work.”
I have not paid much attention to inattentiveness, being fidgety, impulsivity, hyperactivity and not getting along with others. Usually I am seeing the child because of loud snoring, gasping for breath and associated ear problems. Now that studies show some connection, I will be asking about ADHD symptoms among children who snore.

For the snoring child, therapy consists of reducing nasal blockage and reducing blockage from enlarged tonsils and adenoids. Typically:

Judy S. age 6 was seen because of snoring, and poor appetite. Mother described her being cranky and falling asleep in class. On examination she showed sinus infection and enlarged adenoids. She was placed on Hydro Pulse™ Sinus irrigation and Clear.ease lozenges. Her nasal blockage cleared and her adenoids shrank.

William age five was seen for snoring and occasional wheezing. He showed nasal blockage and enlarged adenoids. Nasal tissue showed allergy. He was positive to dust and pollen on skin tests; he was given allergy desensitization. His allergy cleared and so did his snoring. His behavior problems also cleared.

Diagnosing obstructive breathing in sleep can be done by careful ear nose and throat examination and careful history. Therapy may be simply clearing the sinus infection.

I can assure you that the happiest and most satisfied persons I have had in my practice are the parents of the children who no longer snore. As parents, they appreciate the sleeping quietly through the night, the pleasant breath, and the change from cranky and irritable to regular happy child.

Often parents are told not to worry about the child who snores, since they will outgrow this. I feel it is best to clear that condition in order to give the child the best health.

More information at and my book, Free Yourself from Sinus and Allergy Problems –Permanently.