Will losing weight help with snoring?

Find out more about the link between weight management and snoring.
Habitual Team
6/10/2024
4
min read
Checked by
6/10/2024
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Quick summary

According to a recent study, approximately 40% of adults in the UK snore. [1] While there are many potential causes for this, an individual's weight tends to be a key contributor.

As such, if you are a heavy snorer, you may find that losing weight solves the issue - meaning you can end nighttime arguments with your partner for good or otherwise sleep more peacefully.

What is the link between weight and snoring?

As mentioned above, studies suggest that overweight individuals are more likely to snore than those who are a healthy weight.

There are many different reasons for this. For example, the build-up of fatty tissue around the upper airway and tongue can restrict airflow, making it harder to breathe when lying down. [2] As a result, the chances of an individual snoring increase. The build-up of fat in other areas of the body can also lead to respiratory issues and snoring, especially when an individual's lungs or rib cage are compressed. [3]

Being overweight also increases the chances of dealing with health complications such as OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea), for which the primary symptom is snoring. For example, the "prevalence of OSA in obese or severely obese patients is near twice that of normal-weight adults." [4] Other symptoms of OSA include daytime sleepiness, headaches and mood changes.

Sleep Apnea can profoundly impact a person's mental and physical well-being. For example, OSA can increase the chances of an individual dealing with [5]:

  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke

As a general rule, if you are concerned about your snoring habit, you may benefit from losing weight. In fact, this tends to be the recommended course of treatment for OSA and other similar conditions.

How losing weight can help with snoring.

To keep things simple, losing weight can help with snoring as it reduces the build-up of fatty tissue throughout your body. For example, a recent study found that among heavy snorers, "a significant reduction in snoring was associated with an average weight loss of just 6.6 pounds." [6]

However, to enjoy the long-term benefits of weight loss, it is crucial to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way. This way, you do not end up regaining the weight you have lost over time.

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How to lose weight in a healthy way (and stop snoring).

Stay active. One of the easiest ways to lose weight is through exercise. This is because it increases our daily TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure), meaning that we're burning more calories. In additon, some studies have found that regular exercise can also eliminate snoring because it can help tone the muscles around your throat or neck. [7]

Change your diet. Making an effort to follow a healthy, balanced diet also plays a pivotal role in both weight loss and weight management. Moving forward, you should avoid overly-processed and greasy foods while increasing your protein intake. Some studies have found that avoiding foods that are high in sugar or fat can not only help you lose weight but can reduce snoring, too. [8]

Speak to your healthcare provider. Speaking to your doctor about your concerns can also be useful. For example, they may be able to put you on a weight management plan that promotes healthy and sustainable weight loss.

Can weight loss medication help with snoring?

As obesity is often considered one of the key contributors to excessive snoring and conditions such as OSA, losing weight is often critical to leaving these symptoms behind.

However, as many people struggle to lose weight independently, they may benefit from using weight loss medications, such as Ozepmic, Mounjaro and Wegovy. When combined with some of the lifestyle changes listed above, these medications could help you lose weight and lower your chances of snoring excessively (or at all).

For example, a recent study found that, on average, Ozempic users lost 5.9% of their body weight at three months and 10.9% at six months. [9] While research into the topic is ongoing, this could bring positive results for those dealing with OSA. After all, a recent study found that, in patients with confirmed OSA, a 5% reduction in body weight improved sleep apnea symptoms, and a 10% reduction in body weight reduced the symptoms quite considerably. [10]

A recent clinical trial also found that tirzepatide, the active ingredient in Mounjaro, reduced the severity of sleep apnea by up to two-thirds. [11] However, while these initial results are promising, it is important to note that research into the benefits of Mounjaro in regard to OSA is ongoing.

Final Thoughts.

The majority of us will snore from time to time. However, persistent or excessive snoring is often a symptom of a wider issue, such as OSA and obesity. Fortunately, it is not something that you (or your partner) have to learn to accept as part of your nighttime routine.

Taking steps to lose weight, such as adjusting your diet, exercising more often, and seeking out additional weight loss support, can all help you live a snore-free life. Weight loss medication can be particularly useful during this time, especially for individuals who struggle to lose weight.

If you'd like to find out more about the weight loss medications on offer at Habitual, please do not hesitate to get in touch today. We'd be happy to answer any questions you may have so that you can find a program that works for you.

References

[1] How Common is Snoring? The Harley Street ENT Clinic. Retrieved 31 May 2024. Accessible here.

[2] Das Shukla, Amitabh., Jain, Swati., Mishra, Rishabh., et al. (2013)

Does 'weight reduction' help all adult snorers? Lung India 30(1):P16–19. Accessible here.

[3] Dixon, Anne E., Peters, Ubong. (2019) The effect of obesity on lung function. Expert Rev Respir Med 12(9):P755–767. Accessible here.

[4] Romero-Corral, Abel., Caples, Sean M., Lopez-Jimenez, Francisco., et al. (2010). Interactions Between Obesity and Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Chest 137(3):P711–719. Accessible here.

[5] SLEEP APNEA: Causes and Risk Factors. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Retrieved 31 May 2024. Accessible here.

[6] How Weight Loss May Improve Your Sleep. Very Well Health. Retrieved 31 May 2024. Accessible here.

[7] How to Stop Snoring: Remedies, Devices, and Cures. HelpGuide.org. Retrieved 31 May 2024. Accessible here.

[8] Eating a Plant-Based Diet May Help Reduce Snoring. Healthline. Accessed 31 May 2024. Accessible here.

[9] Ozempic for Weight Loss. Drug Watch. Accessed 31 May 2024. Accessible here

[10] Georgouis, Michael., Yiannakouris, Nikos., Kechribari, Ionna., et al. (2022) Dose-response relationship between weight loss and improvements in obstructive sleep apnea severity after a diet/lifestyle interventions: secondary analyses of the “MIMOSA” randomized clinical trial. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. 18(5) Accessible here.

[11] Tirzepatide reduced sleep apnea severity by up to nearly two-thirds in adults with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and obesity. Lilly Investors. Accessed 31 May 2024. Accessible here.

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