While it’s not the only cause, excess fat around your neck and upper body can increase your chance of snoring.

Several health risks are associated with gaining excess weight. These include often-discussed risks such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes as well as lesser-known risks such as snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Excess weight around your neck or midsection can make it difficult for you to breathe properly, especially when you’re lying down. It can compress your airways and lead to snoring and OSA. Losing weight can help relieve this pressure on your airway and reduce snoring.

Snoring can interrupt a good night’s sleep, disrupt a sleep partner, leave you sleepy all day long, and cause you to wake up with a sore throat or a headache.

Snoring has several possible causes. Some are temporary, such as a clogged nose from a cold or spring allergies. Other possible causes, such as excess weight, are more long-term.

Being overweight doesn’t always cause snoring, but it is linked to a greater chance of snoring. There are a few reasons for this. One is that neck fat deposits called pharyngeal fat can block and compress your upper airways when you lie down. When this happens, snoring is more likely.

Fat around your middle can also compress your upper airways and push your diaphragm up. This can compress your rib cage and put pressure on your lungs, reducing your airflow. Without the full airflow, your throat collapses and loses its normal shape, leading to snoring.

In both cases, air moving through the collapsed or compressed airway is the cause of the sound associated with snoring.

Does being overweight cause sleep apnea?

Being overweight is linked to a higher risk of snoring and to a more serious condition called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

OSA is very common, but people with overweight or obesity are more likely to develop it. In fact, even a 10% increase in body mass index (BMI) is associated with an increased risk for OSA. The reasons for this are the same as the reasons for the increased risk of snoring.

Snoring is one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea.

OSA is common, but it’s a serious health condition. In time, untreated OSA can lead to heart disease and other significant health concerns.

Was this helpful?

Losing weight can help reduce snoring.

By losing weight, you’ll likely remove some of the fat that is pushing on your neck and rib cage. This will likely resolve at least some of your snoring.

Additionally, getting better sleep can contribute to weight loss. It can give you more energy to meet exercise goals and can help improve heart health and reduce stress levels. So, as you lose weight, you’ll snore less, and both of these effects will lead to overall improvements in your health.

Multiple factors can lead to snoring — so, even if you have overweight or obesity, it might not be the cause of your snoring or OSA.

Also, if you have overweight or obesity, you may encounter healthcare professionals who dismiss your medical concerns or suggest that weight loss is the answer to all health conditions, even though that isn’t true. This can be a frustrating experience. Healthcare professionals should always consider other possible causes of health concerns.

Learn more about medical gaslighting and self-advocacy.

As a rule, any condition that blocks your airways, including your nasal passages, can lead to snoring. Other causes of snoring include:

Additionally, some risk factors — such as being male and having a family history of snoring or OSA — can increase your chances of both snoring and OSA.

Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea are two health risks associated with overweight and obesity.

Snoring can happen because fat deposits in your neck can constrict your upper airway, making it harder for you to breathe when lying down. It can also happen when fat around your middle compresses your rib cage and lungs, causing your throat to collapse and making breathing more difficult. This narrowing of your airway produces the snoring sound.

Losing weight can help widen your airway and reduce snoring.