Weight Loss for Snoring – SnoreLab’s SMART Strategy

Diet & Lifestyle, Solutions

Weight Loss for Snoring – SnoreLab’s SMART Strategy

It’s the piece of anti-snoring and general health advice that we often don’t need to be told: “lose some weight”.

This in itself is not advice. If it were that easy, weight wouldn’t be a problem for anyone. Whilst we are all aware of the great health benefits of losing weight, it’s a difficult thing to do.

In this guide, we’ll give you the safe and practical advice that can help you lose weight and reduce snoring. This can be condensed into SnoreLab’s five tips for losing weight and managing snoring the SMART way:

Substitute. Make your favorite meals healthier with smart ingredient substitutions. A key substitution is brown for white when it comes to bread, pasta and rice.

Move. The key to weight loss is expending more energy than you put in. Little activity efforts accumulate; take the stairs, set a step goal and integrate exercise into your every day.

Avoid. If you are serious about weight loss, some foods just need to go. If you eliminate one thing only, make that one thing sodas/fizzy drinks.

Reduce and Reward. The most obvious task: reduce your food intake. Also set goals, and when you reach a milestone don’t be afraid to reward yourself.

Think. Mindful eating is a great way to know when you’re full and to appreciate food.

Many scientists and doctors categorize snoring as a habit. As we know, one of the main things that causes snoring is excess weight, and increased weight is also the result of poor habits. Habits are hard to break out of. The best thing to do is to introduce new habits.


Keep eating the types of food you love with smart ingredient substitutions.

Milk chocolate ⇒ Dark chocolate

Chocoholics the world over rejoiced at the news that chocolate is actually quite good for you. This statement comes with some caveats: chocolate’s benefits depend on the amount you eat, the cocoa content and the type of chocolate.

Dark chocolate has more of the original cocoa than milk chocolate which is diluted with more sugar and milk powder. The cocoa is rich in anti-oxidants, chemicals that promote healthy blood vessels [1].

White flour ⇒ Brown flour

We don’t recommend eating too much of foods containing wheat flour, but when you do, make sure it’s brown. White flour is more processed that brown, involving the removal of much of the original wheat grain. This means a reduced nutritional content. Brown bread and pasta are higher in fiber and are lower GI, meaning there is a slower increase of blood glucose after eating, keeping hunger at bay effectively [2].

Additionally, brown flour is higher in fiber which aids digestion and takes a little longer to chew. Chewing for a bit more is a great way to subconsciously lower your intake and to better recognize when you are feeling full.

Rice ⇒ Cauliflower rice

Cauliflower is more nutritionally diverse than rice, has fewer calories per portion and is high in fiber. Make the blender your friend and blitz the cauliflower.  As well as a healthier rice alternative, cauliflower works well in healthier tortillas, pizza bases, mash and hummus.

Cauliflower rice is unbelievably easy to make; simply blitz it to a rice consistency in a food processor, pour it into a heat proof bowl and cover with film. Pierce the film and microwave for seven minutes.

Potatoes ⇒ Root vegetables

Potatoes have a lot of starchy carbohydrates. Many diets would have you believe that carbs are bad. This isn’t true. Carbohydrates are a necessary energy source that keeps us alive [3]. That said, it’s often a good idea to reduce your intake to lose weight.

Mashed swede or celeriac is a good alternative to mashed potato. Roasting parsnips and sweet potatoes are lower-carb, tasty potato alternatives. Vegetable crisps are also growing in popularity as a potato chip substitute.

Other vegetables that can easily slot into potato-esque roles are kohlrabi, turnip and mooli.

These are just a few examples we’re particularly fond of. There’s a multitude of great substitutions promoted by many diets.


The key to weight loss is expending more energy than you put in.

Little bits of activity add up

Exercising to lose weight can start with small efforts. As long as it’s more than what you currently do, you are going to expend more energy than before and make yourself more likely to lose weight.

Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk up escalators, walk just that little bit faster between appointments. These small efforts over time can add up to make a big difference.

Step counting

Setting a daily step goal is a great way to give you a quota of physical activity to aim for every day. There are of host of smart watches and pedometers available, many at a very reasonable price point for the features they have.

The concept of 10,000 steps originated in 1960s Japan, introduced by a pedometer manufacturer looking to profit from the success of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. It has since been adopted as the benchmark for healthy daily exercise [4].

Just as important as the number of steps is their intensity; 5,000 brisk steps are more effective than 10,000 slow ones.

Integrate exercise into daily routines

Lots of people argue that they just don’t have the time available in the day to exercise. The key to exercising in a busy life is to integrate it into your normal routine. Commuting by bike can sometimes be quicker than car or public transport, particularly in slow-moving, congested cities.

If you use public transport, getting off a few stops early is a great way to slot a brisk walk into your working day. This is also good for your mental health; a great way to clear your mind and relax before you start work.

Many of us work at desks. See if a standing desk is something that can be incorporated into your workplace. Also use your lunch break to your advantage, either with a fast walk or even some dedicated gym time. Many workplaces offer subsidized gym memberships. Finding a coworker with similar exercise ambitions is a great way to keep each other motivated.

Find exercise that you enjoy

The assumption with exercise is that you need to put in the hours flogging yourself on a treadmill or exercise bike, entering a purgatory of pain and boredom.

This doesn’t have to be the case. If you enjoy those things, hooray, you’re well on your way to successful weight loss. If not, find something that you do enjoy. With a world of information at your fingertips online, it’s never been easier to discover a wealth of organized activities in your local area.


There are some foods that simply cannot be integrated into healthy weight loss and need to be avoided altogether.

We know there are plenty of other unhealthy foods out there that certainly aren’t recommended as part of any good weight loss strategy, but here are our top three foods that just need getting rid of:

  • Sodas/fizzy drinks. Low calorie sodas don’t necessarily mean low sugar, and the low sugar ones aren’t much better often being laced with additives that provide no nutritional benefit whatsoever.
  • Sugary breakfast cereals. These frequently attempt to promote themselves as healthy. Whilst their claims of multigrain ingredients and high fiber might be true, these benefits simply don’t outweigh the costs of the eye-wateringly high sugar content.
  • Processed meats. More saturated fats, cholesterol and salt compared to unprocessed meat make this a big reg flag.

Reduce and Reward

The importance of eating less cannot be stressed enough.

Many diets promote their methods with the promise of “not having to resort to calorie counting”. Unfortunately, the concept of calorie counting is THE way to lose weight. Put simply, you need to eat less energy than you expend in order to lose weight. This means reduction of what goes in. You should reduce:

  • Portion sizes
  • Added sugar. Some SnoreLab users have seen instant reductions in their snoring when reducing their sugar intake. Read Richard’s story here.
  • The main offenders – bread, pasta, rice, foods with added sugar and non-lean meats.
  • How often you eat meals out

Making big cut backs is hard. To make things easier, it’s important to have something to aim for, which is where the second “R” comes in: reward.

Part of achieving a big goal is recognizing and rewarding the milestones along the way.

Many people who have successfully lost a lot of weight stress the importance of “nudge therapy”.

This is a technique whereby you positively reinforce good behaviors. By giving yourself a reward when you reach a key milestone, you help yourself to stay on that positive trajectory.

Importantly, these rewards shouldn’t include food rewards where you can easily relapse into bad habits. Some examples include a new item of clothing you’ve had your eye on, an evening out, or maybe even some new equipment for your new-found sporting activity.


The practice of “mindful eating” is one of the most important steps you can make towards losing weight.

Sometimes, weight loss isn’t so much about changing what you eat, as it is about how you eat.

Here are the key “Think” tactics that can make you eat better and eat less:

1. Eat slower

Eating too fast is a great way to overeat [5]. This is because once we start eating, there’s a delay between being full and feeling full. The hormones that tell us we are satisfied take time to arrive in the brain [6].

Eating slowly allows the natural processes of satiety (feeling fed) to take effect. Not only does this decrease the amount we eat, but it also makes us more likely to savor and enjoy our food. There are several techniques you can use to slow down your eating:

  • Eat with fewer distractions. This allows for mindful eating where you can appreciate and think about your food.
  • Put down cutlery between mouthfuls.
  • Aim for a certain number of chews per bite and move the food from side to side (this is also a great mouth exercise, another effective and natural way to combat snoring).
  • Dedicate an amount of time to meals.

If after a meal, you still feel those pangs of hunger, give it a little time and they are likely to go away.

2. Keep a food diary

Have you ever been sitting down, distracted and then found yourself eating without even intending to, simply because the food was there?

Writing down everything you eat makes you think twice. It is also a great way to keep track of portions, diet and trends in your eating habits.

3. Plan meals in advance

Poor eating habits come from poor planning. Often, the easiest foods to eat are the ones that are least healthy. Alongside your food diary where you write down the foods of your past, try to plan for the foods of the future.

Not only does effective planning mean you are likely to eat healthier, it can also cut down on food waste and save you a lot of time and money.

4. Think about when you eat

In the past, we have heard testimony and seen evidence that suggests people snore less and can lose weight when eating smaller meals in the evening.

“Front-loading” your diet – eating more in the morning and less in the evening – can be an effective weight loss technique. This is probably not to do with enhanced fat burning or slowed metabolism as some sources speculate. This technique is simply a better way to control your hunger to ensure you stay well within your calorie limits.

A word on special diets …

There’s no shortage of special diets that map out what foods you can and can’t eat. If adhered to, most of them will make you lose weight, many of them quite quickly. Some caution needs to be exercised with special diets, as eliminating an entire food group is not conducive to a healthy lifestyle.

Whilst most lack hard scientific evidence to back them up, some of the better-known diets are based on very sensible and well-researched concepts. There are some popular diets that we believe can be beneficial:

Calorie restriction diets

The principle of weight loss is to take in less energy than you are expending.

This concept is why calorie-counting diets are the only types of diet that have extensive scientific backing.

A calorie is a measurement of energy. By eating we take in energy; we expend energy through activity. If there is an imbalance between what goes in and what goes out, weight changes happen.

Counting calories isn’t glamorous but can be very effective. Safe calorie reduction is important. Whilst very low-calorie diets (below 800 per day) will make you lose weight fast, they aren’t sustainable and should only be done under medical supervision.

Exact numbers vary, but calorie reduction down to 1400 per day for women and 1900 for men should give you steady and healthy weight loss.

Importantly, your calorific intake should still be made up of healthy foods. Yes, 500 calories of fries still fulfill the criteria just as 500 calories of vegetables would, but you are likely to feel better and lose more weight by eating sensibly.

Paleo diet

This diet is based on only eating foods that were available during the pre-agricultural times of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. This means no wheat or cereals, very little dairy, but most crucially, no processed foods. Instead, the diet focusses on seeds, nuts, seasonal fruit and vegetables and meat.

As a concept, the paleo diet has a few flaws where even the strictest proponents can’t actually recreate these ancient diets by our modern standards. It also eliminates some extremely nutritious foods such as pulses and calcium-rich dairy.

But paleo-dieters stress that the diet is less gospel and more guidelines. The idea of no processed food alongside more vegetables, nuts and seeds is something to be encouraged.


The aim of SnoreLab’s SMART approach is to spread manageable changes across all aspects of your life. This is so that your weight loss tactics become new habits that not only help you lose weight, but help you to maintain that lower weight.

The best way to stop snoring, lose weight or achieve any other health-related goal is to approach it from many angles, using combinations of positive lifestyle changes.

This article is a diversion from our normal snoring themes. Most, if not all anti-snoring websites will recommend weight loss but then leave you hanging, abandoning you to trawl the internet and navigate through the vast quantity of misinformation and unhelpful strategies. Our SMART approach is based on forming new habits, making lots of changes that go beyond just your diet, but keeping them manageable and sustainable to not only lose weight, but to keep it lost.

Do Snore Alarms Work?

Science, Using SnoreLab

Snore Alarms, Do They Work?

At SnoreLab, we frequently get asked “Can you create a snore alarm feature?” The answer is, yes, we could; it is a feature we are assessing the feasibility of. But introducing a snore alarm raises some more important questions for us and particularly you, the user:

  • Are snore alarms an effective solution in the long term?
  • Does behavioural conditioning work for snoring?
  • Does a snore alarm treat the root cause or is it just a quick fix?
  • Will most users find the snore alarm too annoying to stick to?

Put simply: do snore alarms work? Let’s discuss …

How is a snore alarm supposed to work?

The basis of a snore alarm is to introduce something unpleasant which makes you change your behaviour. This is a great example of negative reinforcement (or operant Skinnerian conditioning if you are into psychology).

Psychologist B.F. Skinner put a rat in a box which had a mild electric charge running through it. This rat ran around frantically until it found a lever that switched off the electricity, relieving it of its discomfort [1].

Using this example, you are the rat and the snore alarm is the electricity; the only way you can stop this unpleasantness is to press the lever, i.e. stop snoring.

This is where the model breaks down.

Pressing a lever is controllable and voluntary. But is stopping snoring a voluntary action?

Is snoring voluntary and can it be “learned” away?

Snoring is often described as a habit [2]. Using this reasoning, habits are behaviours, behaviours are learned and can be changed, therefore are voluntary. Or is it not that straightforward when it comes to snoring?

Snoring is the result of involuntary soft tissue relaxation which can be exacerbated by voluntary lifestyle choices.

Our awake habits: diet, exercise, alcohol, smoking and general health heavily influence our sleeping “habit” of snoring.

Put simply, snoring is the symptom, not the cause. We don’t snore because we feel like doing so, but snore as a consequence of some other things that we can control.

The best way to remedy something is to treat the root cause, something which in general, snore alarms don’t do.

Snore alarms treat the symptom, not the cause, and could be ruining your sleep

One thing is certain, snore alarms do stop snoring – indeed, at that very instant. Unfortunately, this is probably because they stop sleep too.

Over the years, a number of gadgets and devices have been created that give you an unpleasant prompt, and at that moment, they do stop your snoring [3].

But this is because it disrupts your sleep so much that you stay in lighter sleep, or are even prevented from sleeping altogether. Being awake is the best remedy for snoring!

When considering using a snore alarm, remember why you want to stop snoring in the first place. Presumably, it is so you and your partner can achieve better, healthier sleep. Are frequent awakenings really the best way to go about this?

There is very limited evidence for snore alarms

Trawling through the science of snoring prevention, we found only one article – written in 1983 with a tiny sample size of 3 people (!) – which reported that snorers had successfully “learned” to stop snoring after being exposed to a snoring alarm.

These snorers were subjected to 7 nights of beeps that sounded when they snored. This would only cease once they flicked a switch. On the eighth night with no alarm, their snoring was less compared to before the alarm therapy [4].

The fact that this is the only evidence (not successfully replicated in the 36 years since) and that a sample size of 3 is hardly scientifically robust, makes us seriously doubt the feasibility of treating snoring with an alarm.

A history of snore alarms

Over the last 50 or years, there have been a number of devices that never made it to the anti-snoring market that were designed to listen to snoring and alert their user.

Initially, multiple inventors aimed to condition people by:

“imparting an electric shock to a sleeper when he snores of sufficient magnitude to awaken him, and ultimately, to condition the sleeper against snoring”.

Needless to say, the idea didn’t catch on and rest assured, shock collars is not something we are considering at SnoreLab.

An “Electronic Snore Depressor” from 1967 – one of many designs that, quite rightly, hasn’t stood the test of time


Another patent described itself as an “instructional device for snorers”.

This gadget, designed in 1970, used a microphone to listen for snoring much like SnoreLab does. It then used the snoring sounds to trigger a pre-recorded message which would play through an earpiece connected to the central receiver (something along the lines of “Oi you, stop that snoring now”).

The expression on this snorer’s face tells you all you need to know about how it felt to sleep with this device from 1970!


This struggled to gain traction as users became tangled in the wiring when turning over in their sleep. Though sleep therein was presumably not forthcoming after having disturbing messages played in their ear.

Improvements were made by other inventors in 1983 – realising that repeatedly waking the user wasn’t the best idea – with the creation of a wireless version that would “produce an irritating sound, enough to stimulate but not wake”. Products based on the same concept exist today.

Other inventors went a step further and intentionally woke snorers with convoluted behavioural conditioning systems. This required snorers to actively shut off an unpleasant alarm – a choice of “intense beams of light projected at the sleeper’s head”, a pillow buzzer, a vibration, an electric shock or all of the above.

Once the snorer had successfully shut off the aversive stimulus, positive reinforcement would ensue and an M&M was dispensed via the “reward chute”!

Electric shocks, flashing lights and M&Ms – the anti-snoring revolution/torture of 1975


Never has the line between snoring human and lab rat been so blurred as with this bizarre blend of negative and positive reinforcement.

We challenge any snorer to put up with this for more than one night!

Snore alarms available today

Snore alarms still exist, and there is a demand for them. And though they are very rarely recommended as a first line anti-snoring solution, some people swear by them.

Still flying the flag for negative reinforcement is Snoree (though upon last check, the product wasn’t available), a Polish company who manufacture a buzzer which sounds when snoring is detected.

Being hidden in the dusty corners of the internet with a dearth of customer reviews suggests that not many people find this device particularly useful.

At SnoreLab, we even experimented on ourselves, triggering a flashing light when snoring was detected. This simply gave us horrible nightmares before waking us up in a state of utter confusion!

Sound and light always have the unfortunate side effect of waking up a non-snoring partner too. So nowadays, most snore alarms work via vibration.

Vibrating anti-snore trainers can be found easily on Amazon and elsewhere online. Rarely do they get good reviews; when they do, it comes with an admission that sleep is seriously disrupted:

“It does what it claims by stopping your snoring, but this can mean a very disturbed night for the wearer.”

Recent valiant attempts were made by some sleep monitoring apps using a connection to a smart watch. This would vibrate when the app detected snoring. It was much anticipated but ran for only two months before being hastily removed.

Its demise may have been well received by some:

“I had to remove the watch in the middle of the night so I could finally get some sleep. The darn thing woke me up all night. I slept for two minutes at a time all night, because as soon as you enter deep sleep, you start snoring and the app kicks in and wakes you up. Thanks, but no thanks.”

However, many users were sad to see the feature go and swore it made a difference:

“What happened to the snore alarm? My husband was finally able to return to the marital bed because this mode would gently nudge him to roll over when he snored.”

This last line, “gently nudge him to roll over when he snored” is crucial. Here, the alarm wasn’t simply teaching him not to snore. It was treating the cause – sleeping position. This is when snore alarms CAN work.

When snore alarms CAN work

We don’t really think you can just learn to stop snoring. The evidence simply isn’t there. That is, unless you can learn to change the habit that makes you snore in the first place.

Snore alarms can be useful if they, like in the aforementioned review, force you into making a change that influences your snoring, such as to your sleeping position.

Positional Trainers

Positional trainers are atypical snore alarms in that they don’t react to your snoring per se. Instead, as the name suggests, they react to your sleeping position.

These small devices attach to your body (usually the chest) and vibrate when they detect that you are sleeping on your back. This does create a subconscious prompt for you to roll onto your side, and in time, you do it naturally.


The importance of sleep position for snorers

Read more

The evidence for their effectiveness is growing, showing promising results for mild obstructive sleep apnea with results even comparable to anti-snoring mouthpieces [5].

There are a few available, but often not to the consumer. Positional trainers are usually prescribed for mild-moderate sleep apnea cases; obtaining one without a prescription can be very expensive.

Snooor is the new kid on the block, available as a consumer remedy at a very affordable price point.

Smart Nora

Another interesting snore alarm concept has been championed by Smart Nora, which listens for snoring and moves your head.

Moving the head when snoring is detected isn’t a new idea. An inventor in 1963 came up with a system of microphones and plungers to shake and jolt a snorer’s head to wake them up.

A head-moving snore detector from 1963. Thankfully, Smart Nora – a modern lookalike – doesn’t aim to wake you up like this device does

Thankfully, Smart Nora go for a subtler, gentler approach. Instead of intending to punish and wake the snorer to get them to “learn” to stop snoring, Smart Nora reacts to snoring by addressing its fundamental feature – a relaxed airway.

When Smart Nora’s “pebble” unit detects snoring, it wirelessly sends information to the pump which inflates the expander under your pillow. This gently moves your head which brings back some much-needed muscular tone to your airways to nip snoring in the bud.


Smart Nora system

Read more


Given the history and the evidence, we don’t think that snore alarms are the best way to address your snoring problems.

The wisdom of yesteryear dictated that you can simply learn to stop snoring through behavioural conditioning. This is only true if the cause of your snoring is something in your behaviour – and importantly, something that can be instantly modified to good effect, i.e. sleeping position.

Here, snore alarms can be extremely useful, the automated equivalent of a nudge in the ribs from a bed partner to get you to turn over. This is why we haven’t ruled out a SnoreLab snore alarm yet.

However, in the vast majority of correspondence we’ve had with our users relating to their snoring, SnoreLab users don’t sleep on their back. In these cases, an alarm cannot address the underlying physiology that makes you snore.

An alarm cannot train your allergies away or correct a deviated septum, it can’t make you lose weight or hold your tongue base out of your airway.

At SnoreLab, our aim has always been to treat the cause, not the snoring symptom, by giving you the insight into your triggers to better understand what the solutions may be.

This article is an opinion piece, something we have given careful consideration based on the evidence we have seen. Do you disagree? Have you used a snoring alarm to good effect? We’d love to hear from you. Please contact us on Twitter, Facebook or via our support inbox on support@snorelab.com

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