Snoring, Mouth Breathing & Sleep

– Written by JoAnna Inks 

snoring graphic - JoAnna Inks Sleep Solutions

I once thought that snoring babies were pretty cute!  What better sign that your baby is sleeping deeply and getting great rest than the sound of them purring away in their crib?

As a mom, the simple sight of your sleeping little one means they’re safe, relaxed, and pretty content with everything around them.

I used to get that “I’m a great mom” feeling when my babies were peacefully sleeping, and a little snore seemed pretty harmless and kinda cute.

Unfortunately, that cute sound as it turns out isn’t so great.

Now that I’m a sleep expert, I understand that mouth breathing & snoring are both causes for concern.

That’s not meant to frighten anyone, but it’s true.

If you’ve ever taken yoga, meditated, or trained for an athletic challenge, you know that proper breathing is essential, and it also has impressive benefits.  Proper breathing, by definition, is done through the nose.

These are the reasons why breathing through your nose is better:

1.  It increases the amount of oxygen we get to our lungs.

2.  The nose expels more carbon dioxide.

3.  It lowers out heart rate.

4.  Increases lymphatic flow.

5.  Also, last but not least, reduces stress on the heart.

Those are no small things!

And, here’s another one – nose breathing produces nitric oxide, which expands vessels & increases blood flow.  All of the hairs and mucus in your sinuses help to filter out impurities in the air.

Mouth breathing has some pretty nasty downsides.

This is for real!  This isn’t some bad FB post your conspiracy loving friend might share with you 😉

Chronic, long-term mouth breathing in children can….

1.  Affect facial growth.

2.  Mess with their teeth.

3.  Cause gum disease & throat infections.

4.  Even stunt their growth!

5.  Also, last but not least, and closest to my heart, affect the quality of their SLEEP!

I’m certainly not trying to panic anyone, but I have a lot of conversations with parents about their children, and concerns about mouth breathing ranks somewhere below “abducted by aliens” on the list of parental concerns, so I wanted to alert parents about its dangers.

Facial deformities and teeth growth aren’t things I know much about in my line of work.  However, sleep IS my area of expertise, so let me tell you a bit about how snoring can wreck a fantastic, restful night of sleep.

If you read any of my blogs, you know we sleep in cycles.  We go from light sleep to deeper sleep, then still deeper, and finally the dreaming stage known as REM sleep.

In the first stage of sleep as well as in REM sleep, we can be awakened very easily.  The dog rolling over on the bed, your partner moving, and even those strange involuntary muscle twitches startle us out of sleep.   This causes us to go back to the starting line of trying to get back to sleep.

As adults, our sleep cycles last 90-110 minutes, but in babies, it’s closer to 45 minutes, so they can be woken up much more frequently throughout the night.  No surprise to most parents that know all too well how often babies can wake in the night!  

No surprise either to the UPS man, given how many death stares they’ve gotten from moms after ringing the doorbell at the wrong time! LOL 

What causes a baby to wake in those light stages?

The dog barking, a loud truck going by, the washing machine, loud siblings….Lots of things, and sometimes, their own snoring! 

Snoring isn’t the only thing that would wake them.  Obstructive apnea is where the airway obstructs to the point where the body startles itself out of sleep.  This is an amazing little fail-safe that we can all be thankful for – even if it does cause baby to wake often throughout the night!

I could go on and on about many things I’ve said before about the benefits of consolidated, nighttime sleep for your baby, as well as the detriments of sleep deprivation but, I’ll trust that you’ve read enough of my blogs to know about ALL of that. 

Babies need so much sleep, and not getting it is bad for them in many ways.  If your baby is snoring, you should take action.

What should you do?

1.  Get your phone and record your baby breathing while they sleep.

2.  Take that recording to your pediatrician and play it for them (simply telling them may not be enough for them actually to take action).

3.  You should be referred to a respiratory therapist.

4.  Removal of the tonsils/adenoids is often the next step if the airway is significantly blocked.

Also, don’t panic.  This process isn’t as harsh as it sounds and is performed more than 500,000 times a year in the US.

Often, your little one’s snoring won’t warrant surgery, and some simple nasal strips can solve the problem temporarily.

Remember, if your baby is sick and congested, likely, the snoring is not permanent.  Nasal congestion, when sick, can cause a baby to snore but should resolve itself once baby gets better.

As moms, we have a lot to worry about, without throwing unnecessary things into the mix, but if your baby is mouth breathing & snoring, it can have some severe consequences and should be taken seriously.

It’s preventable and better sleep is waiting on the other side – for your baby AND for the entire family.

Baby not snoring and still not sleeping well?

We can fix that in a few short nights so that you can go from exhausted and overwhelmed by your baby’s sleep to well rested and confident your baby will sleep well Every. Single. Night!

Book your complimentary discovery call today.  You can do that here: Book A Call 

Here’s to a well-rested family,