Overweight and Snoring: A Vicious Circle

Causes, Diet & Lifestyle, Science

Overweight and Snoring: A Vicious Circle

Being a snorer and being overweight are interchangeably linked. In other words, obesity can cause snoring and snoring can cause obesity.

Promisingly, weight loss is the most potent remedy for snoring. Dropping a few pounds can drastically reduce both normal snoring and sleep apnea.


Weight loss techniques for snorers.



SnoreLab’s SMART strategy for weight loss

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Loud snoring is often a stepping stone towards sleep breathing disorders such as sleep apnea, and the link with bodyweight is clear.

Obesity, defined as a body mass index (BMI) value more than 30kg/m2, is the most significant risk factor for the development of sleep apnea. 70% of patients experiencing sleep apnea are obese, and 40% of obese people experience sleep apnea. The vast majority (95%) of people with obstructive sleep apnea are snorers [1].

How does being overweight make you snore?

Our weight is determined by our daily eating and exercise habits, with a degree of genetic predisposition. Where fat is distributed on our bodies dictates snoring.

Neck fat causes direct compression of the upper airway

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

Many questionnaires that assess your risk of sleep apnea ask your neck size. This isn’t something that many people tend to associate with snoring but it certainly plays a role. A value exceeding 16 inches is a watershed, where your weight is probably a major player in your snoring.

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?

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 saps our energy. We can’t always catch up on sleep when we like, so instead we fill that energy void with food, particularly foods with plenty of sugar. Here, we think we are hungry but are actually just sleep deprived.

Under-exercising is a symptom of the fatigue and tiredness that come from bad sleep. If you aren’t sleeping properly, how ready for exercise do you really feel?

This is the 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].


A perfect storm

No aspect of health is an island. The body is a hugely complex, interlinked network of systems where every action has a host of reactions. Snoring and weight gain work in a vicious cycle but not in isolation; both factors suck in more health problems as the cycle spirals out of control.

Even without being overweight, low oxygen episodes in sleep apnea put strain on the heart and blood vessels. Coupled with obesity, a perfect storm is brewing that can lead to heart troubles, stroke and diabetes amongst many other maladies.

The benefits of weight loss

Now let’s look towards a positive, snoring-free future. Somehow you must break the cycle. When you do, the results are often astounding.

Many studies have looked into the effect of weight loss on disturbed sleep breathing. They have found that many people can half the severity of sleep apnea by losing only 10-15% of their bodyweight [3].

But why stop at 10-15%? Further weight reduction has hugely dramatic effects on sleep and snoring. Another study found that following bariatric surgery (a procedure to reduce the size of the stomach) where there was 60% body fat reduction, apnea episodes stopped entirely in 86% of people [4].

So how do you break the cycle?

Research has 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 [5]. So how do you break the cycle?

Ideally, you need a combined approach of effective weight loss techniques, well suited snoring remedies and good sleep hygiene.

1. Weight loss techniques for snorers

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

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. At SnoreLab, we’ve heard from many users who say that skipping their evening meal massively helps their snoring.

Low carbohydrate diet

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 earlier, get better sleep and feel readier to lose weight. SnoreLab’s Four-Hour Fast could stop your snoring tonight!

Eat little and often

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

Slow down

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.


Read more about these tactics in detail with

SnoreLab’s SMART way to lose weight

2. 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:


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 

This is another way of saying: 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.


Recommended products to help you sleep on your side


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.


This is the remedy of choice for sleep apnea, and can be very effective in reducing snoring and improving sleep.

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.


Mouth exercises for snoring

Read more

Remember to use SnoreLab to tag the remedies and factors you use so you can see how they are affecting your snoring. Also make note of how well you have slept each night, and if any changes you’ve made have had an impact.

3. Good sleep hygiene

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:

  • Have regular bed times.
  • Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep.
  • Make sure your room is dark.
  • Mentally declutter with gentle activity like reading a book.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Avoid napping too soon before bedtime.
  • Have a cool bedroom.
  • Take a shower or bath before bed.
  • Don’t force sleep if it isn’t forthcoming.

As well as these tactics, be sure to have a look at SnoreLab’s SMART approach to weight loss and snoring reduction.


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, and gain so much more.

Anti-Snoring Pillow Success – Fiona’s Story

User Stories

Anti-Snoring Pillow Success – Fiona’s Story

We like to hear from our users and find out how they use the app and what they have done to combat their snoring. With these user stories, we hope you can pick up some great tips and gain some motivation to address your snoring too. This user story comes from Fiona, who left a review on Google Play and answered our snoring questionnaire …

Scared to speak too soon but I think I’ve cured myself in five days flat with this app.

I’m fifty years old and in full health. I’d never snored until about two months ago when this snoring like a saw mill came on all of a sudden with no obvious explanation. I wasn’t sure what started it; whether it was age related, weight gain or breathing problems, I just didn’t know.

Sometimes, I did wake myself up with the noise, but I’ve been a good sleeper for as long as I can remember so was mostly oblivious to my new-found snoring ability. It was my partner who was suffering as even without the snoring, he’s already quite a light sleeper.

It got to the point where I had to try some remedies. I did an online search for some snoring remedies and found a few things I wanted to give a go.

Firstly, I tried some snoring rings that had acupressure dots on them; I bought one and then another to wear both together but they had no effect.

Then I tried Nytol throat spray which didn’t taste great. I also tried Vicks on my chest and some nasal strips; they did help me breathe a bit better but the snoring stubbornly stayed.

Nearing the end of his tether, my partner intervened and started taking away my pillows as he though I should sleep flatter. But this was just too uncomfortable for me. I normally sleep on my back with two pillows so to sleep flat felt awful. But at this point, I thought I’d try anything.

Even if he made me turn onto my side I would still snore, even with my mouth closed! I thought sleeping on my side with a closed mouth was meant to stop snoring!

That’s when I downloaded the SnoreLab app. I tried it for a couple of nights and could no longer argue that my snoring probably wasn’t that bad. I left a review on Google Play …

“Don’t like this app, because now I can’t deny to my partner that I do actually snore like a steam train! I can hear it for myself, OMG! Hopefully I can monitor this further and get some tips to decrease the problem”

SnoreLab replied to my review and offered a questionnaire they were making to help people identify their snoring triggers and things that might help.

The questionnaire made me aware of having one nostril always more blocked than the other, so I thought about seeing a doctor about potential nasal polyps and tried some steaming to clear my nose a bit more.

I was also recommended a wedge pillow to elevate my head. I saw on the app that this could let me still sleep on my back but in a more elevated position so I was drawn to this idea. I couldn’t find a wedge pillow in my local stores so bought a V pillow instead.

My partner and I had slept in separate beds for a week previous, so I decided to put this pillow to the test for the first time in a shared bed. He didn’t wake up once! Result! I found the position comfortable as I could go back to my preferred sleeping position. It’s also quite firm so my head was nicely elevated which given me instant success.

Thank you to the developers of SnoreLab. It has saved me from being bludgeoned by my partner! I’m continuing to monitor my snoring with the app as I don’t want to let things slip. For now, I’m sleeping so well and so is my partner.

Head elevation has shown to be a simple but very effective way of reducing snoring, particularly if you are a dedicated back sleeper. You can read more about sleeping position and its impact on snoring here, and check out SnoreLab’s recommended memory foam wedge pillow here.

All of our user stories are genuine accounts from SnoreLab users. If you’d like to share your experience about using SnoreLab, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us on support@snorelab.com or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter.

In the interest of privacy for our users, names and pictures may be changed. We use the wording quoted to us by our users but may make small stylistic changes.

Is Your Snoring Caused by a Dust Allergy?


Is Your Snoring Caused by a Dust Allergy?

If you struggle to breathe through your nose at night, you may not be surprised to learn that a blocked nose is one of the main causes of snoring.


10 tips to manage allergy-related snoring


A blocked nose can often be brought on by an allergy, a likely cause of which is dust.

Dust gathers in household environments due to flaking skin. The allergy is not due to this dust, but to the dust mites it attracts.

Invisible to the naked eye, these microscopic arachnids feed on skin flakes. The waste they produce contains proteins which are a major cause of allergic symptoms in humans [1].

How does a blocked nose make you snore?

If you are susceptible to these dust mite allergens, then breathing through your nose may become difficult. A blocked nose can cause you to snore in several ways:

  • Nasal breathing becomes noisy with whistling, popping or rumbling sounds.
  • Nasal breathing through a partially blocked nose can create suction forces which narrow the upper airway to produce the typical soft-palate snore.
  • It can become impossible to breathe through a blocked nose, so you are forced to instead breathe through your mouth. This changes your face shape which narrows your airway to bring on snoring.

How do I know if I have allergies?

If you suspect that allergies are causing your snoring, ask yourself the following:

  • Do you have carpets and other soft-furnishings in your home? Carpets can easily trap dust and dust mites.
  • Do you snore less away from home? Record your snoring with SnoreLab and make a note of where you have slept. See and hear the difference that your environment makes.
  • Do your symptoms arrive suddenly? Allergic symptoms are faster acting than the symptoms of a common cold.
  • Do you have itchy eyes and throat as well as a blocked nose?

10 tips to manage allergy-related snoring

To stop allergies ruining you and your partner’s sleep, the key is to clean and clean thoroughly:

1. Vacuum like you’ve never vacuumed before

Get the vacuum cleaner out more often and vacuum those forgotten places in your bedroom that have trapped years-worth of dust. You’d be amazed at where dust can get. Remember, vacuum cleaning a room is all very well and good if the dust isn’t fired straight back out again. Make sure your vacuum cleaner has an in-built HEPA filter to trap the dust you suck up.

2. Invest in an air purifier

Air purifiers can be very effective at ridding your home of a host of microscopic allergy triggers, including dust mites. There are many types, shapes and sizes. Check out SnoreLab’s recommended air purifier with a true HEPA filter to get rid of 99.97% of harmful particles from your room.

3. Move things around

Dust can accumulate when furniture stays in the same place for a while. Engage in some anti-snoring feng shui to reveal those places where dust can hide and make your snoring worse. Whilst this may agitate the dust in the short-term, wait a bit and then simply deploy the vacuum cleaner again.

4. Wash bedding

As well as frequently washing bed covers, it is also a good idea to wash the pillows and duvet too as they can also trap dust.

5. Use allergy-proof bedding covers

Once you are sure your bedding is clean, invest in some allergy-proof bedding covers to prevent the dust from returning.

6. Flip your mattress

Just as dust can hide on furniture, it can hide also hide on your mattress. Flip it and clean it every once in a while, and consider a mattress protector.

7. Consider getting rid of carpets

If your dust allergies are really affecting you and making your snoring intolerable, it might be time to get rid of the carpets in your home. The drastic measure could make drastic differences to your snoring.

8. Fit roller blinds instead of drapes/curtains

Drapes/curtains are another place that dust and dust mites love. Roller blinds with simple designs and hard surfaces will trap dust less and are much easier to clean

9. Regularly wipe hard surfaces

After time, even hard surfaces will start to accumulate dust and dust mites. Giving them a wipe down with a damp cloth every now and then is a great way to keep them dust-free.

10. Use a neti pot

Cleaning allergies out of your life isn’t just about cleaning your environment, it’s also about cleaning your body, specifically your nose. If your nose is stuffy, rid yourself of allergens trapped in nasal mucus with a neti pot. This snoring remedy uses salt water with the assistance of gravity to flush out your nose and ease congestion.


Shop for SnoreLab’s recommended

neti pot starter kit

and read our guide to neti pots


Allergies can make the nights an unpleasant experience for you and your partner if a blocked nose makes your snoring worse. If you are a hay fever sufferer, the outdoors is a trial; with dust allergies, the indoors is no better. Hopefully, by following these tips, you can banish dust and snoring from your bedroom for good.

Make sure to have a read of Jenny’s story, a SnoreLab user who discovered a dust allergy was causing her snoring and had a dramatic reduction with these techniques.

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