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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

Overweight And Snoring: A Vicious Circle

Can being overweight make you snore?

Weight relies on the way we eat and exercise every day, overweight and snoring with a certain degree of genetic predisposition. Fat distribution on our bodies dictates snoring.

Neck fat can directly compress your upper airway

Neck fat compresses the upper airway, particularly when lying down, making snoring much more likely.

Midriff fat causes indirect compression of the upper airway

Being overweight and snoring isn’t just about neck fat. Central obesity, where fat is found around the midriff and chest, also worsens snoring and sleep apnea.

Belly fat pushes your diaphragm up (a phenomenon mirrored in pregnant women, another sub-group of snorers), and fat on your chest compresses the ribcage. Both of these shrink the volume of your lungs. Lower lung capacity restricts airflow, air that is needed to keep some shape in the throat to prevent collapse.

Men are more likely to snore due to their fat distribution

Distribution of fat differs between the sexes, which goes some way to explaining why more men snore than women. Women usually gain body fat peripherally: on the thighs, hips and buttocks.

Central fat on the neck, chest and abdomen is a pattern far more common in men, making them more likely to snore.

After menopause, fat distribution in women changes, making central weight gain and snoring more likely.

How can snoring make you overweight?

obesity, snoring

a man with increased weight, Credits: pixabay

Everyone knows that overeating and under-exercising makes us overweight. What is less well known is that snoring itself can facilitate weight gain.

This is because sleep deprivation caused by snoring or sleep apnea changes our habits and our appetite.

A classic example of this is someone who is tired during the day due to a poor night’s sleep, drinking high-sugar soft drinks to stay alert.

Poor sleep drains our energy. Under-exercising is a symptom of the fatigue and tiredness that come from bad sleep.

This is the snoring-obesity cycle.

snoring obesity cycle

Snorers and their partners lose sleep, so are less inclined to exercise and more inclined to eat lots of carbohydrate-rich foods. This spells weight gain. More weight means more snoring. More snoring produces worse sleep and more exhaustion, which in turn is mitigated by overeating and under-exercising [2].

So how to disrupt the cycle?

Studies have shown that people getting poor sleep are far less likely to lose weight. Fatigue and stress from sleep debt makes people disinclined to stick to diet and exercise regimes.

You need a combined approach of effective weight loss techniques, appropriate snoring remedies and good sleep hygiene.

Weight loss techniques for snorers

obesity, snoring

Weight loss, Credits: pixabay

There’s no shortage of advice and special diets when it comes to losing weight. It can all be a bit confusing and overwhelming. No single technique works wonders for everyone, and drastic solutions are rarely stuck at for very long. Try a combination of the following, sustainable methods to start you on your way to weight loss:

Front load your diet

obesity, snoring

Breakfast, Credits: pexels

This is another way of saying eat more in the morning and less in the evening. Nobody agrees why, but weight loss seems to be enhanced when people have smaller evening meals.

Low carbohydrate diet

obesity, snoring

low carbohydrates, Credits: pexels

Reducing your carbohydrate intake – that’s sugar and starch – can help you lose weight very quickly. This can be achieved with smart substitutions of ingredients.

Don’t eat too soon before bed

Indigestion can cause reflux and discomfort that disrupts sleep. Eat early, get better sleep and feel readier to lose weight.

Eat little and often

obesity, snoring

less portion of food, Credits: pexels

Big meals make you feel sluggish. Feel better and more active by eating smaller portions throughout the day.

Slow down

obesity, snoring

a woman eating slowly, Credits: pexels

There is a natural delay in digestion, so we can be physically full before our brain realises we are, causing us to overeat. By taking our time when we eat, not only do we stop sooner, but we also enjoy food more.

Snoring remedies well-suited to overweight people

Snoring remedies can be very effective if they are correctly matched to the snorer. Due to the nature of their snoring, there are certain remedies that are better suited to overweight people:


obesity, snoring

mouthpiece, Credits: pixabay

Your mouth falls open when you sleep if neck fat has decreased the muscular tone in your neck. Use a mouthpiece to bring your jaw forward to stop your tongue falling back and causing airway obstruction. Anti-snoring mouthpieces vary greatly, be sure to check out our guide to anti-snoring mouthpieces.

Positional therapy

Obesity snoring

a man sleeping on his side, Credits: pixabay

Sleep on your side! The combined effect of being overweight and sleeping on your back can make snoring very bad. There are many ways to change your position, from specialised pillows and vibrating training devices, to simple hacks like attaching a tennis ball to your back.

Wedge pillow

If you can’t sleep on your side, slight head elevation with a wedge pillow has shown to be extremely effective in reducing snoring, particularly for overweight people.

Mouth exercises

Reducing weight-related snoring needn’t just involve exercising your body, many snorers see massive improvements when performing various mouth and throat exercises.

Good sleep hygiene

obesity, snoring

clean bedroom, Credits: pexels

Set yourself up for a great night’s sleep by practising good sleep hygiene. This isn’t about personal cleanliness (though showering/bathing does indeed help) but is about preparing your mind and body for sleep. Follow these useful tips:

  1. Have regular bed times.

  2. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep.

  3. Make sure your room is dark.

  4. Mentally declutter with gentle activity like reading a book.

  5. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.

  6. Avoid napping too soon before bedtime.

  7. Have a cool bedroom.

  8. Take a shower or bath before bed.

  9. Don’t force sleep if it isn’t forthcoming.


If you are overweight and snoring, you may find yourself in a cycle that is difficult to break free from. With effective weight loss techniques, well suited snoring remedies and good sleep hygiene, you can start to lose weight, stop snoring.

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