MOutdoor respirators get a bad rap, if only for the louder hiss that air tends to produce as it travels in the direction of the mouth rather than the direction of the nose. But it turns out that this tendency to breathe isn’t discouraged just because it’s annoying to some people who hear it; those who regularly breathe through their mouths are actually at a higher risk for sleep disorders like sleep apnea and dental health issues. Although it is possible to resolve mouth breathing during the day by consciously deciding to breathe through your nose (assuming you don’t have nasal congestion), it is more difficult to control the way you breathe during the day. that you are sleeping, which is why some turn to close-closing their mouths as a way to “force” themselves to breathe through their nose.

Duct tape at night involves placing a piece of duct tape over your lips before you go to bed so that you can physically can not breathe through your mouth while you sleep (and must breathe through your nose). Although there haven’t been many studies on the practice itself, the benefits of breathing through your nose while sleeping are numerous, leading some doctors to recommend mouth scotch at night, with some measures. precautionary.

Why is it healthier to breathe through your nose rather than your mouth, anyway?

Breathing (and smelling, which we do through breathing) is the primary function of the nose, while the mouth exists for speaking and eating, in addition to its ability to breathe. Breathing is also optimized through the nose, while breathing through the mouth is not. “Breathing through the mouth bypasses the functions of the nose, which include filtering the air we breathe for particles [like allergens and pollution]humidification and bringing the temperature of the air to body temperature before it enters the lungs,” says Raj TerKonda, MD, FACS, otolaryngologist, facial plastic surgeon, and sleep specialist.

“Breathing through the mouth bypasses the functions of the nose, which include warming, humidifying and filtering the air we breathe.” —Raj TerKonda, MD, FACS, otolaryngologist

With this warm, moist air from the nose, the throat and lungs can function better than with cooler, drier air from the mouth. In fact, research has shown that those who breathe through their mouths have lower brain oxygenation levels – because their lungs cannot absorb oxygen from the air they breathe as efficiently – and may even experience less cognitive activity than their nasal breathing. counterparts. In contrast, nasal breathing helps “maximize oxygen uptake from the air you breathe and minimize irritation to your throat and lungs, which can also help improve your sleep quality,” says sleep specialist Angela Holliday-Bell, MD.

For the same reason (i.e. inhaling warmer, more humid air), nasal breathing at night may also reduce the risk of dry mouth and sore throat upon awakening. “A drier mouth from mouth breathing can also lower the pH in the mouth, increasing your risk of cavities and tooth decay,” says dentist Matthew Asaro, DDS, who also recommends the alternative of nose breathing for this reason. Not to mention, the lack of saliva production caused by mouth breathing can allow bacteria to build up in your mouth, making you all the more likely to wake up with bad morning breath as well.

Long before this point, the closed mouth position of nose breathing can also be particularly beneficial due to its ability to reduce snoring. “During sleep, with nasal breathing, the tongue and soft palate are less likely to droop and obstruct the airway,” says Dr. TerKonda. As a result, you’re not only less likely to snore, but you may also experience fewer interruptions to your breathing (called apneas) during sleep, which improves sleep quality and reduces stress on the body, it adds. -he.

Is it a good idea to tape your mouth shut at night to promote nasal breathing?

Clearly, nose breathing is the medically superior choice over mouth breathing at night. And that’s not just in light of how it can improve your sleep, but also for its benefits to your overall health. But is force yourself breathing through your nose by putting tape over your mouth a good idea? The answer is a strong “it depends”.

If you don’t have a sleep disorder and suspect that your mouth breathing at night is just a function of a bad habit, it may be worth trying duct tape. A small 2015 study of open-mouthed sleepers with mild obstructive sleep apnea found that “porous mouth plates” (i.e. porous tape over the mouth) reduced intensity and frequency. snoring and apnea. And ostensibly, these changes have come about through increased nasal (over the mouth) breathing which, as noted above, comes with its own array of other health benefits during sleep and beyond.

That said, for some people who breathe through their mouth at night, the behavior is a sign of an obstruction limiting their ability to breathe through their nose, says Dr. Holliday-Bell, “such as congestion due to allergies or a disease, or airway obstruction from conditions such as enlarged tonsils or adenoids — that is, lymph tissue in the upper airways — or a deviated septum.

In all of these scenarios, simply putting a piece of tape over your mouth won’t fix the problem that’s causing you to breathe through your mouth at night in the first place; it will just make it harder to breathe. (Just imagine taping your mouth shut when you’re so stuffy you can’t breathe through your nose.) Instead, you’ll need to seek treatment for the blocked nose, either through medication. , or through a procedure performed by an ENT surgeon, says Dr. TerKonda.

How to Safely Practice Oral Taping at Night

If you do not have a sleep disorder or some kind of obstruction that prevents you from breathing easily through your nose, and you decide to try mouth scotch at night with the permission of your doctor, Dr. Holliday-Bell suggests using a vertically oriented piece of porous medical tape on the upper and lower lips. It’s also worth noting that you should only use a small piece the size of a postage stamp, says Dr. TerKonda, to securely seal the lips (not lock them).

Additionally, Dr. Holliday-Bell advises avoiding placing the tape on the hair to minimize irritation during removal. “If you find that you are having difficulty breathing or are anxious while wearing the tape, you should also remove the tape immediately and see your doctor,” she says.

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