A simple urine test can now help differentiate between dangerous and safe snoring.
Researchers at the University of Chicago conducted a study on 90 children referred to a clinic to be evaluated for breathing problems in sleep, and 30 controls.
It was found that a number of proteins were increased in the urine of the children diagnosed with dangerous snoring.
As part of the study the children underwent standard overnight tests through which some were classified as having obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).
In the morning, the experts used a process with fluorescent dyes to separate and characterise the proteins in the urine.
They found three proteins- urocortin 3, orosomucoid and uromodulin- at higher concentrations in the urine of children with OSA, while another protein, kallikrein 1, was at lower levels.
"It was rather unexpected that the urine would provide us with the ability to identify OSA," the BBC News quoted Dr David Gozal, who led the research, as saying.
He added: "If we can develop this further we might be able to screen children for OSA for a fraction of the cost of keeping them in a sleep clinic overnight, and it would overcome the huge waiting lists for such screening."
Ian Balfour, a respiratory consultant at the Royal Brompton Hospital, said: "OSA is a big problem in children with large tonsils or who are obese.
"Some overweight children with this problem have to use ventilators to sleep at night.
"This is an interesting finding - the implication is that the children's renal and kidney function is being affected by their OSA.
"But the research is too far from being something practical doctors and patients would be able to use."
The study has been published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.