Breathwork has become the latest wellness trend. But getting the most out of your breath isn’t just about breathing deeply or slowly. It’s about knowing when to breathe out of your nose or mouth. The argument between the mouth breather vs nose breather has been going on for too long. Many disagree about what’s the right way, but experts have claimed that nose breathing wins this battle. DOSE writer Demi explains why nose breathing is best and how to change your wrong breathing habits with simple changes.
Why Is Mouth Breathing Bad?
Although the human body is capable of breathing through the nose and mouth, the proper way to breathe is through your nose. It humidifies the air before it enters your lungs and has a huge impact on your health. On average we take 12 to 14 breaths per minute but mouth breathers take around 20-24 – almost double. This is an issue as mouth breathing means you inhale more air than you should, meaning you exhale excess carbon dioxide, which affects cells in your body and damages your internal organs.
Getting a good night’s sleep isn’t always easy. But changing the way you breathe might be the key to waking up refreshed. Nose breathing is always important, however it’s even more so for sleep. The Journal of Pediatria states that nose breathing during sleep is essential to stimulate adequate ventilation and activate reflexes that help maintain the tonicity of the muscles that stabilise the upper airways. Mouth breathing contributes to poor sleep quality and snoring. It can also cause serious developmental issues in children, as 20-50% of children breathe through their mouth during sleep.
The Effects Of Mouth Breathing
Humans were designed to be nose breathers, but many have adapted to breathe through the mouth. But why is mouth breathing so bad? Below are some negative side effects of mouth breathing.
If you worry about bad breath, don’t change your toothpaste, change your breathing. Mouth breathing results in a dry mouth, meaning there isn’t enough saliva to wash the bacteria in your mouth. This results in bacteria growing on the tongue and bad breath. To avoid this, stay hydrated and sleep with your mouth closed.
Ever woken up with that ‘sexy’ hungover voice without the hangover? It’s probably because you breathed from your mouth during sleep. Mouth breathing can dry out the airways, resulting in the sensation of losing your voice.
Is Your Dentist Not Happy With Your Oral Health?
Facial deformity from mouth breathing is possible in children who mouth breath from a young age. Mouth breathing effects the jaw structure and bones around the mouth, and can result in surgery in later years.
For more information on why nose breathing will change your life, watch the video below with Dr Rangan Chatterjee and Patrick McKeown.
Tips On How To Breathe Properly
The secret to a good night’s sleep lies in nasal breathing. Without snoring and a stuffy nose, you’ll sleep better and wake feeling refreshed. Although for many it’s natural, some people find nasal breathing unnatural. Below are tips on how to breathe through your nose for a good nights sleep.
Avoid That After Dinner Glass Of Wine
Try avoiding alcohol close to bed time. Alcohol irritates the stomach and relaxes your throat muscles. This results in mouth breathing and shallow breathes during sleep.
Don’t Skip That HIIT Workout You Planned
Outdoor exercise is key. Not only are you exercising your muscles and heart, but your nervous system in your nose too. Physical activity activates your sympathetic nervous system, which constricts the blood vessels that supply your nasal turbinates. This allows you to breathe better and easier through your nose.
Avoid Allergies Where The Magic Happens
If you have any allergies, especially ones in your bedroom, try to remove them whilst you sleep. For example, some flowers on your bedside table, extra dust gathered throughout the day or if you have any pets try keep them out of your room at night. Frequently washing your bedsheets in very hot water also helps.
Chill The F Out
Now for our favourite tip, take time to relax! Most of our days are spent replying to emails during our lunch break and not getting enough breaks throughout the day. Even if you don’t feel like you need them, frequent little breaks throughout the day are essential to reducing stress on your mind and body. A short stretching session between meetings or a quick walk around the block. Stress can tense up muscles, resulting in shallower breathes that can aggravate nasal congestion.
Try Lip Tape
If these other tips aren’t making a difference, then it’s time for the next step. Lip tape may seem like an odd resolution, but trust me it really does work. Lip tape safely brings the lips together to support and restore nasal breathing during wakefulness and sleep. It ‘reminds’ you to close your mouth, and teaches the brain to switch dominance to nasal breathing when the lips are gently held together.
Enjoyed this mouth breather vs nose breather article? Read How To Improve Your Sleep.
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