Snoring is one of the most prevalent sleeping disorders. At least 45% of adults snore occasionally, while 25% are habitual snorers. Snoring is not only a potential subject for ridicule, but it can also affect relationships and work performance. It can also lead to serious medical issues if left untreated.
It has been a long known fact that males and obese people are found to be more prone to develop snoring. But, does obesity really cause snoring? Research studies reveal the answer.
The Link between Snoring and Obesity
In obesity, excess fat doesn’t only accumulate around the thighs or the torso area. It can also accumulate around the neck and the jawline. When too much fat is present in these areas of the body, the airways get constricted and narrowed. As a result, air doesn’t pass through properly and causes vibrations which we call as snoring.
But, another cause of snoring that is linked to obesity is the accumulation of fat around the chest area. Excessive fat around this area createsa constriction in the throat and lungs. In turn, this constriction creates breathing problems and loud snores.
The Link BetweenWeight Gain and Snoring
So, if obesity is already established as a perpetrator, can weight gain cause snoring? Yes, it also does.
Similar to obesity, weight gain can cause the accumulation of excessive fat in the throat or chest area. This excessive fat adds weight and causes airways to collapse.
But, there’s also another cause of snoring that is linked to weight gain. With the accumulation of excessive fat as a result of weight gain, the muscle tone loosens. This loose muscle tone contributes to the development of snoring and other breathing problems.
The Vicious Cycle of Obesity and Snoring
Recent research studies reveal that the connection between snoring and obesity is not a link, but rather, a vicious cycle.
Snoring can actually lead to significant weight gain. The reason behind this phenomenon is that snoring disrupts your normal sleeping pattern. With a disrupted sleeping pattern, your hormone system is disturbed. And the disturbed hormone system can increase your body’s ability to store fat.
But, that’s not all. Since snoring interrupts your regular sleep pattern, you won’t have enough energy to go through your daily ministrations. As a result, you will tend to feel hungrier and overeat. In turn, this contributes to weight gain.
With increased weight, more fat can accumulate around the throat and torso area and narrow your airway further. In turn, your snoring will worsen and may even lead to the development of obstructive sleep apnea.
The Vicious Cycle of Snoring and Obesity
An interesting research study on this vicious cycle is done by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). The team, including Christos S. Mantzoros, an endocrinologistinvestigate how snoring affects a child’s metabolic characteristics such as body mass index (BMI) and insulin resistance. The study involved 1,100 children followed from gestation to early adolescents.
According to endocrinologist Christos S. Mantzoros, their study found a physiologic loop between snoring and obesity. This means that with a worsening sleep apnea comes worsening obesity and vice versa. In addition, they found that children suffering from snoring and obesity are more prone to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
What You Can Do About It
If you are suffering from both obesity and snoring, it is highly recommended for you to start losing weight. You may consult your doctor for tips and advice on how to properly lose weight. If you have a smartphone, you may download a fitness app that can guide you through this process.
But, what is the optimal weight to turn your snoring into a complete stop? Studies on the effect of weight reduction on snoring, advice that one shouldn’t focus on weight reduction. What you must focus on is achieving a BMI of 25 kg/m2 to achieve significant improvements in snoring.
While you are working on losing weight, it might be helpful to follow these things. First, put a body pillow behind you to prop yourself up, so you can sleep on your side at night. This position will open up your airways better than lying on your back during sleep.
If you are not comfortable in this position, you may try elevating your feet using a body pillow. This position is said to prevent your mouth from opening and thereby forces you to breathe through the nose.
Second, invest in some good anti-snoring devices that prevent you from snoring. Many anti-snoring devices are clinically tested to clear your airways and stop snoring. Examples of these anti-snoring devices include anti-snoring mouthpieces, chinstraps, and tongue retaining devices.
Several research studies have established the link between snoring and obesity. Due to the excess fat in the neck and chest area, the airways are constricted and this causes snoring.
However, snoring and obesity does not have a one-way relationship. In fact, these two are part of a vicious cycle. This fact has been confirmed by a study done on obese children who suffer from snoring.
For this reason, it is important to address these issues as soon as possible. Snoring is no joke, and neither is obesity. Please consult a medical professional immediately if you suffer from obesity and snoring.