My fitness clients come to me with a variety of reasons for wanting to lose weight, and just recently, one of them has asked me if weight loss would curb his snoring.
I knew something about this from my practice, but I researched the topic further by reading countless online studies and speaking with our medical professionals to nail down all the facts.
I found an interesting correlation between weight and snoring, so read on to see what I found.
- Carrying excess weight can lead to sleep disorders.
- A snoring problem not only affects you but your sleep partner as well.
- Sleep medicine or antihistamines can make snoring even worse.
Can Losing Weight Help With Snoring?
Snoring occurs when air does not pass freely through the airway while breathing in and out during sleep.
The sound you hear happens when the air flows past relaxed tissues in the upper airway, causing those tissues to vibrate and resulting in the unmistakable snoring sound .
There are several reasons people snore and can include the following:
- Alcohol consumption
- Sedative medication
- Head and neck anatomy
- Chronic nasal congestion
- Sleep position
- Being overweight
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
You certainly have control over many things on the list and can quickly eliminate any relevant ones to see if it reduces or eliminates your snoring.
Not everyone who snores has obstructive sleep apnea, but sufferers of OSA are likely to snore.
Consider speaking with your doctor if your snoring is waking you up frequently at night, you are experiencing morning headaches, there is a pause in your breathing during sleep followed by choking, snorting, or gasping sounds, and you have daytime sleepiness due to sleep deprivation .
Having the root cause of the snoring go undiagnosed makes it challenging to eliminate snoring and may result in poor sleep for you and your partner.
How Does Excessive Fat Ruin Your Sleep?
Carrying excessive fat can ruin your sleep because of increased soft tissue in the airway, which can lead to developing sleep apnea or snoring .
Excessive weight can lead to the aforementioned sleep apnea.
OSA can lead to other health conditions like cardiovascular and metabolic issues such as Type 2 diabetes and eye disorders like glaucoma .
Sleep apnea treatment includes losing weight (if necessary), avoiding alcohol and sleeping pills, sleeping on your side, using oral devices, and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).
To further reduce snoring, you might try nasal sprays, throat exercises, and avoiding alcohol and sleep medicines.
Snoring Can Make You Gain Fat
Gaining weight and snoring can be a vicious cycle.
If you are overweight and have difficulty sleeping, you may gain even more weight. When you regularly fail to get a good night’s sleep because of excessive snoring, you are less likely to workout out, potentially resulting in weight gain.
And excessive weight can then further make the snoring worse.
Lack of sleep and poor quality also disrupt leptin and ghrelin levels, the hormones that regulate hunger. The imbalance of hunger hormones may cause you to eat more, and exhaustion may result in poor food choices, all of which are factors in weight gain .
“Snoring is more than a bedtime annoyance and it shouldn’t be ignored, patients need to seek treatment in the same way they would if they had sleep apnea, high blood pressure, or other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.”
- Robert Deeb, M.D.
Can Weight Loss Improve Snoring?
Weight loss can improve snoring, and countless studies support this. Getting rid of as little as five to eight pounds of excess fat can improve snoring .
One study, whose participants were obese men who snored heavily, showed a reduction in snoring with an average loss of 6.6 pounds, and for those who lost more weight, an average of 16.7 pounds, this nuisance was entirely eliminated .
It is important to note that while these studies positively support the topic of reducing weight/improving snoring, there may be underlying causes for loud snoring for some people that losing weight will simply not remedy.
How Much Fat Should I Lose?
How much fat you should lose genuinely depends on how overweight you are. Losing about 5-10% of body weight should be able to help with normal snoring . You can make more significant gains toward eliminating it completely by losing more weight.
One study shows that after participants underwent bariatric surgery and body fat was reduced by 60%, snoring and sleep apnea episodes ceased in approximately 85% of the participants .
Am I suggesting bariatric surgery is a remedy for snoring? No. What I observed in my research is a direct correlation between significant weight loss and a dramatic impact on snoring.
Related article: Weight Loss vs Fat Loss
Can Belly Fat Cause Snoring?
Yes, belly fat can cause snoring because central weight gain (fat accumulates in the midriff) will cause the belly fat to push up the diaphragm and compress the ribcage, lowering lung volume and restricting airflow.
How Can I Stop Snoring Naturally?
You can stop snoring naturally by losing weight if you are overweight, avoiding alcohol and sleep medications, sleeping on your side, quitting smoking, using nasal strips, and raising the head of your bed.
It’s Time to Lose Weight and Stop Snoring
If you are looking to fall and stay asleep and prevent snoring, losing weight is critical to getting a restful night’s sleep.
The first thing I instruct all my overweight clients is to implement a healthy diet and consistent exercise routine, which significantly impacts sleep.
Once that is in order, a fat burner can be a great addition to enhance weight loss efforts and push you faster toward better sleep.
Here are some of our recommended products:
These are not magic pills, but some of those we tested for our guide proved to be quite effective in fast-tracking weight-loss efforts.
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