Objective: We sought to find a combination of noninvasive treatments for snoring by adding weight loss to previously studied treatments, including the combination of sleeping on one's side and using a decongestant nasal spray.
Study population: Twenty asymptomatic men who snore heavily were studied previously on a control night and on a night when they slept on their side and used a nasal spray. With these two treatments, minor improvements in apnea/hypopnea index (AHI) were seen, but no improvement occurred in snoring frequency. Nineteen of these subjects subsequently completed a 6-month weight loss program, and 12 lost weight. These 19 subjects comprise the study population of this report.
Study design: At the conclusion of the weight loss program, a repeated sleep study was done from which the effect of adding weight loss to the two previously studied treatments could be assessed.
Results: Those 12 subjects who lost any amount of weight showed a very mild reduction in snores per hour from 328 using two modalities of treatment to 232 per hour with the addition of weight loss (p = 0.15). The nine subjects who lost > or = 3 kg reduced the number of snores per hour from 320 to 176 (p = 0.0496). Three subjects losing an average of only 7.6 kg showed virtual elimination of snoring after weight loss. Subjects who gained weight had no improvement in snoring. Weight loss added to the other two modalities of treatment had no effect on the AHI.
Conclusion: In most cases, the combination of weight loss, sleeping on one's side, and the administration of a nasal decongestant significantly reduces the frequency of snoring in asymptomatic men who snore heavily. The major effect appears to be related to weight loss.