Snoring is characterised by noisy breathing that occurs when a person’s airway is partially blocked during sleep. Sleep apnea, on the other hand, is a sleep disorder that is signified by a complete pause in breathing during sleep. These pauses in breathing can last for a few seconds to minutes and may also occur multiple times throughout the night. Sleep apnea is also often accompanied by loud snoring.

In people with obesity, there is an accumulation of fatty tissues around the tongue, throat and neck, which narrows a person’s airway, resulting in increased resistance to airflow and disrupted breathing when the person is asleep. This can result in snoring, further obstructing the airway and making it more likely for the breathing to become shallow, leading to episodes of sleep apnea.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the intricate connection between snoring, sleep apnea and obesity, exploring the underlying causes, associated risk factors, and holistic treatments options.

A] Connection Between Snoring and Obesity

Obesity and snoring often go hand in hand. When we examine the connection between obesity and snoring, it becomes evident that excess weight can cause and exacerbate snoring. Excess weight can lead to the accumulation of fatty tissues around the throat and neck area, blocking the airways, and causing a partial blockage resulting in snoring.

Obesity is also associated with poor muscle tone in the throat and neck, increasing the chances of airway collapse during sleep.

But did you know that the relationship between obesity and snoring is bidirectional?

People who frequently snore may be more susceptible to weight gain. To clarify, snoring can lead to sleep disruption, which can cause fatigue and daytime sleepiness, leading to reduced physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle.

Additionally, poor sleep quality also disrupts hormonal balance, which can increase a person’s appetite and preference for calorie-dense foods.

In addition to these factors, the trials and tribulations of maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine can also contribute to these bidirectional relationships in which snoring can lead to obesity.

Were you aware that weight loss could positively impact snoring? It reduces snoring frequency and intensity by alleviating the pressure on the airways, leading to improved airflow and a reduction in snoring.

In order to identify the crux of your snoring and weight issues, you can get in touch with a sleep specialist who can recommend an ideal treatment for your condition.

B] Connection Between Sleep Apnea And Obesity

The relationship between obesity and sleep apnea is complex and bidirectional. Understanding the connection between the two is crucial for managing both conditions effectively.

So let’s begin by answering the question, “Does obesity cause Sleep Apnea?” Yes, obesity can put excess weight on the respiratory system. The accumulation of fat in the neck and throat region can obstruct airways by narrowing them, making it difficult to breathe during sleep. The narrowing of airways can lead to sleep apnea episodes characterised by breathing pauses or shallow breathing.

Can Sleep Apnea cause weight gain and lead to obesity?

Sleep apnea disrupts normal sleep patterns, leading to repeated awakening. This sleep disruption can lead to hormonal imbalances. It specifically affects the hormones responsible for regulating your appetite and metabolism, thereby increasing your appetite and making you crave foods high in carbs and calories. The lack of quality sleep can also lead to decreased energy levels, making it harder to perform physical activities and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Can Sleep Apnea go away with weight loss?

Since obesity is one of the factors contributing to sleep apnea, weight loss can alleviate or eliminate the symptoms of sleep apnea. It does so by reducing the pressure on the respiratory system.

While obesity is one of the factors that can contribute to snoring and sleep apnea, non obese people can also suffer from these issues. You can learn about these factors and causes with our comprehensive guide: Sleep Apnea vs Snoring.

C] Holistic Treatments For Sleep Apnea and Snoring

1. Oral Myofunctional Therapy

Oral myofunctional therapy is an approach that focuses on strengthening the muscles of the tongue and face. The aim is to enhance a person’s breathing, improve swallowing, and ensure proper tongue posture. It involves myofunctional exercises and techniques designed to improve tongue strength, control, and coordination. It also includes exercises to promote proper swallowing patterns and nasal breathing.

Myofunctional therapy, conducted by trained professionals, addresses the underlying issues by strengthening the face and tongue muscles. This can alleviate snoring and sleep apnea.

If you are want to learn more about the different types of exercises a myofunctional therapist might suggest for snoring, head over to our blog: Effective Snoring Exercises For A Good Night’s Sleep

2. Airway Orthodontics

Airway orthodontics is a specialised field within orthodontics that addresses both dental and skeletal issues that affect the airway. A compromised airway can restrict the normal airflow contributing to snoring and sleep apnea. Some common issues that can lead to airway obstruction include narrow dental arches, crowded or misaligned teeth, retrognathic (recessed) jaws, or other skeletal abnormalities that affect the size and shape of the airway.

Airway orthodontic treatments use various techniques to address these issues to free the airway obstruction, promoting better airflow. It fixes poor teeth alignment and improper jaw positioning to reduce sleep-disordered breathing problems.

3. Breath Retraining

Breath retraining techniques aid people with snoring and sleep apnea to live an improved life. These techniques teach them how to breathe properly. It primarily focuses on teaching individuals nasal breathing and diaphragmatic breathing to improve airflow by ensuring that the air passes through the nasal passages, which are better equipped for filtering and conditioning the air. This approach opens up the airways and enhances oxygen intake. In the absence of airway obstruction, the person can breathe freely, reducing snoring and sleep apnea.

4. Correction of Tongue Function & Mobility

Correcting tongue function and mobility is an important aspect of addressing breathing and sleep-related issues such as snoring and sleep apnea. It is especially necessary for people with tongue tie, a condition in which tongue movement is restricted because the band that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth is either short or thick.

Experts suggest treatments such as Functional Frenuloplasty to release or loosen the band connecting the tongue to the floor of the mouth, allowing for improved tongue movement and mobility. Most experienced tongue tie dentists combine tongue tie procedures with other approaches to strengthen the tongue muscles, promoting better control, flexibility, and coordination. This improves tongue moisture ensuring proper airflow during sleep. It is therefore an ideal treatment for people who suffer from snoring and sleep apnea.

5. Orthotics and GNM Orthotics

Orthodontics, particularly GNM orthodontics, primarily utilises oral appliances such as TMJ splints and mouthguards to effectively address temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. These specialised appliances are designed to be worn by individuals while they sleep at night. By doing so, they effectively reduce strain on the jaw joint and promote optimal jaw positioning and bringing the lower jaw forward which opens up the airway.

The correct alignment and positioning of the jaws play a crucial role in ensuring unobstructed airflow during sleep. This, in turn, leads to improved airflow, reduced snoring, and diminished sleep apnea symptoms. The use of these oral appliances frees the airway of any obstruction, allowing for optimal breathing during sleep.

6. Oral Sleep Appliances

Oral sleep appliances, commonly referred to as mandibular advancement devices (MADs), are customised oral appliances that individuals wear while sleeping. These appliances are designed to reposition the jaw, tongue and soft tissues, widening the airway and improving breathing patterns. This helps reduce snoring and alleviates sleep apnea symptoms.

Oral sleep appliances can also be used to treat other breathing related sleep disorders such as Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS), mouth breathing, and daytime sleepiness.


In this guide, we have explored the intricate connection between snoring, sleep apnea and obesity. We have observed that obesity can be a major contributing factor to snoring and sleep apnea. Recognizing this can help you make better decisions regarding your overall health.

If you have been dealing with chronic snoring or suspect that you might have sleep apnea, it is essential to seek professional help, especially if obesity is a factor. Sleep apnea specialists can help provide you with proper guidance and diagnosis. Post the diagnosis, the expert will also recommend appropriate treatment tailored to your diagnosis.

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