Lose Weight to Stop Snoring

weight lossDo you frequently snore at night? If so, you may have sleep apnoea. Sleep apnoea is a medical condition wherein there is cessation of breathing and reduction of ventilation during sleep. Its signs and symptoms include frequent loud snoring, cessation of breathing during sleep, choking episodes during sleep, morning headaches, depression, frequent trips to the bathroom during the night, dry mouth or sore throat, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, high blood pressure and reduced sex drive.

A recent article from the Jan-March 2013 issue of Lung India has tried to find out whether weight reduction is of benefit in all adult snorers. This cross sectional study utilised 349 subjects (196 males and 153 females) who were then evaluated in terms of their snoring status. Their neck circumference, height and weight were measured and their body mass indexes (BMI) were calculated. They were then calculated into low normal, high normal, pre-obese and obese BMI groups. Prevalence rates of snoring in different groups were compared, to find out any statistically significant difference, between them.

The study found out that there were significant differences in the prevalence rates of snoring between obese and pre-obese people and between people with normal BMI. No significant difference was found in prevalence rates, when comparison was made between the obese and pre-obese groups. Neck circumference of snorers was significantly more than the neck circumference of non-snorers in all BMI groups.

It was found out not only in this study but in other studies as well that even modest weight reduction is likely to be effective in managing and reducing the new occurrence of sleep disordered breathing (SDB). Obesity is likely to be causal in persons with sleep disordered breathing, and weight reduction, could be helpful in these people. In some previous studies physical activity has been found out to protect obese people against snoring, which is in congruence with the findings in this study.

This study also discussed the finding that the difference, in prevalence of snoring, among high and low normal BMI subjects, was not statistically significant. Previous studies have already found out that, instead of weight reduction, correction of anatomical abnormalities of upper airways could be a better way to control snoring in persons of normal BMI. It also points towards the fact that obesity might not be the only cause of snoring, and other causes also deserve to be addressed and corrected.

We may also recall that in this study, mean neck circumference of snorers was significantly higher than mean neck circumference of non-snorers, among subjects of normal as well as above normal BMI groups. It highlights the fact that reduction of BMI by weight reduction as well as of fat around the upper airways may be helpful at least in snorers with normal BMI. Fat around upper airways is an important contributor of sleep disordered breathing. There were no other statistical differences noted in this study as to age and sex.

Thus we can learn from this study that body mass index needs to be set at 25 kg/m, in weight reduction programmes, to achieve clinically relevant response in a snorer. There is no need to put extra emphasis, on further reduction of BMI. However, weight reduction, is not helpful in all adult snorers, especially those with normal BMI, because other causes of snoring, like fat around upper airways, need to be considered.


Shukla AD, Jain S, Mishra R, Singh AK. Does 'weight reduction' help all adult snorers? Lung India. 2013 Jan;30(1):16-9

Image  Courtesy of stuart miles / freedigitalphotos.net

Somnowell Inventor - Visiting Professor Simon Ash FDS MSc MOrth BDS

Prof. Ash is the inventor of the highly successful SOMNOWELL Chrome device for snoring and sleep apnoea.

The Somnowell Chrome is made to exacting standards in the Somnowell laboratory under the supervision of Visiting Professor Simon Ash. Prof. Ash and his master technicians create each Somnowell Chrome device using their wealth of experience and expertise.

Prof. Ash works at the forefront of his profession. He is a Consultant and Specialist Orthodontist with over 30 years clinical experience, with a special interest in sleep related breathing disorders, TMJD, and bruxism. He currently works in Harley Street London and two private hospitals in London as part of a multi-disciplinary team managing snoring and sleep apnoea, and is Visiting Professor of Orthodontics at the BPP University.