You can benefit from keeping your mouth shut during awkward moments, however, it’s even more useful while sleeping — literally! Breathing through your nose only will increase your sleep quality and there’s an easy trick to do that.
At The Elite Indian, we’ll share this lesser-known wellness advice for a better night’s sleep which will improve your day along with it.
Let’s start with understanding why mouth breathing is bad.
The answer is easy: your nose is the one thing on your face designed just for breathing. It regulates airflow and blocks foreign objects in the air. When you breathe through your mouth, you make yourself defenseless against them which may result in tooth decay and other dental problems.
Nose breathing increases the levels of nitric oxide in the sinuses, helping you to sleep more soundly, have a better memory and a stronger immune system. Mouth breathing, however, is the one to blame for snoring and sleep apnea. According to Dr. Steven Park, it also increases the stress responses which lead to less sleep as well.
How to know if you’re a mouth breather
You may not be hearing yourself snore, but if you wake up with a dry mouth and even a sore throat, that is the reason. Bad morning breath is also another especially unwanted indicator.
Clear your stuffy nose first.
Since you’ll automatically start breathing through your mouth if your nose is blocked, you need to make sure you go to bed with a clean nose. You can try a hot shower, saline sprays, and neti pots while getting ready for your snooze time.
Also, staying hydrated during the day and using a humidifier will help you prevent clogging.
Don’t sleep on your back.
Although sleeping on your back is suggested for skin beauty and lower back problems, you shouldn’t try to sleep in this position if you’re likely to have sleep apnea. Because when you go into a deep state of sleep, the muscles in the roof of your mouth, your tongue, and throat relax and block the airway, vibrating the tissue.
Finally, tape your mouth shut!
We’re talking about actual taping! This method originates from the Buteyko Method developed by Dr. Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko who has studied how breathing affects one’s overall health. Patrick McKeown, the author of The Oxygen Advantage and breathing coach, explains why this method is especially important for a good night’s sleep.
The logic behind the idea is simple: when your nasal respiration is interrupted, you’ll automatically open your mouth. During the day, you can control your body and change your physical state. It’s not an option while sleeping. Luckily, if your mouth is shut completely, your nose will adapt quickly, dilating the nasal passages. Buteyko calls it “the opposite of stressful breathing” which is slow and requires more breathing involving the diaphragm and nose. And the easiest way to achieve this is to tape your mouth shut!
Useful tricks for mouth taping
- Find the correct tape. There are simple surgical tapes, cosmetic lip tapes, or special tapes designed especially for sleeping. You can try them all and find the most convenient one for you.
- Give yourself time to get used to it. It will feel weird to tape your mouth in the beginning. You can tape your mouth during the day time to get used to it. In the early days of mouth taping, you may wake up and see your tape is unsealed. Try different methods and angles for taping and continue practicing.
- Use vaseline on your lips before taping. You can apply a lubricating layer right onto your lips if you feel uncomfortable. It’ll make it easier to peel the tape off in the morning.
Extra: a great breathing technique to fall asleep easily
This trick is called the “4-7-8 Method” developed by Dr. Andrew Weil. You can try this technique right before taping your mouth.
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose and mentally count to 4.
- Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
- Exhale completely through your mouth slowly for 8 seconds, making a “whoosh” sound.
You can repeat this set 3 more times. This method can also be used during the day for deep relaxation and will work like a charm when practiced regularly.
Do you have your own breathing secrets? Inspire the The Elite Indian community in the comments!