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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Will losing weight reduce my snoring?

    I'm a 62 year old male and overweight, I am wondering if this is the reason for my snoring?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • The Sleep Health Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of ‘valuing sleep’ as part of a healthy lifestyle alongside regular exercise, a … View Profile

    One of the risk factors for snoring is being overweight, so losing weight can reduce snoring. However, there are other factors that contribute to snoring such as drinking alcohol, nasal obstruction, sleeping on your back, medications, and upper airway shape. As such, some people snore without being overweight. Click here for more information on snoring.
     

  • 1

    Thanks

    Mr Dean Spilias

    Upper GI Surgeon (Abdominal)

    Dean graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1997 and went on to surgical training at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. During his residency he had … View Profile

    Snoring doesn't go away completely with weight loss. However, sleep apnoea can improve significantly with weight loss, and sleep apnoea is one of the medical conditions associated with snoring.

    Sleep apnoea is a more severe form where breathing actually stops for 10 seconds up to a minute or more! This is usually picked up by a partner. Problems for the person affected by sleep apnoea include sleepiness during the day, lack of energy or concentration, and potentially heart strain from the increased blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension). 

    If you think you have sleep apnoea, it is very worthwhile contacting your GP to organise a sleep study and a review by a sleep specialist. If the sleep study shows sleep apnoea, most people benefit from a machine that clips on to the nose to keep the airways open during sleep (nasal CPAP). They will also assess your weight, and if necessary can recommend a program for weight loss. 

    Other causes of snoring are often best addressed by an ENT surgeon (ear, nose and throat; otorhinolaryngologist). Depending on the cause, either surgery or a prosthesis may help. 

  • Dr Nicholas Stow

    Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon

    Clinical Associate Professor Nicholas Stow completed his specialist training in NSW, then undertook 2 years of subspecialty training in Sinus and Nasal Surgery in Switzerland … View Profile

    Being overweight is an important contributing factor to snoring in many people, but is usually not the sole cause of snoring. Snoring arises from a partial blockage of your airway at night and is usually due to multiple factors. For example, a blocked nose, large tonsils, a long palate or a large tongue may contribute to snoring. In overweight patients, fatty tissue in the neck and palate may narrow the airway.

    Losing weight is usually an important part of treatment in overweight snorers or sleep apnoea patients. Other treatments may also be needed, such as alcohol reduction, avoidance of certain sleep positions, a dental device or sometimes surgery. CPAP, where a mask is worn at night to deliver air under pressure to splint the airway open, is usually reserved for moderate to severe sleep apnoea patients. 

    I would suggest you discuss your concerns about your snoring and weight with your GP.

  • Dr Maree Barnes

    Respiratory & Sleep Medicine Physician

    Dr Barnes has competed specialty training in sleep medicine and is currently working at the Austin Hospital in Melbourne. Dr Barnes’ current research focuses are: … View Profile

    Yes, snoring can often be associated with being overweight and also with sleep apnoea. Often weight loss will help with the snoring, but not the sleep apnoea. It is therefore important to have this checked out. Your GP can refer you to a sleep physician to check this and maybe have an overnight sleep study. You should also go the website of the Sleep Health Foundation (www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au) for more information

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