Mouth Taping and the Benefits of Nasal Breathing

August 28, 2023

The first time I heard about mouth taping was a few years ago when a yoga teacher told me that I should try it as a way to deal with sleep apnea. If you haven’t heard of mouth taping yet, it’s basically just what it sounds like - taping your mouth shut - before you go to sleep at night to encourage nasal breathing. I laughed and dismissed the idea, thinking that I would feel too claustrophobic with my mouth taped shut. A couple of years later the idea resurfaced when I was researching how to improve my overall health and wellbeing after many, many months of constant sickness. I discovered that I actually don’t have sleep apnea (yay!) but I do sleep with my mouth open all night (boo). I drink water throughout the night and wake up feeling tired and still super dehydrated. I decided to buy some medical grade tape that was shaped like an X so that I could leave a little space between my lips in case I really need to take a breath from my mouth. The first few nights I would wake up with the tape stuck in my hair or somewhere on my sheets (the hair mornings were annoying). Clearly, my sleepy self didn’t love the tape and I was pulling it off at some point. By day five or six I was able to keep it on for the full night and I noticed an IMMEDIATE difference. My water glass would be full which means I wasn’t waking up throughout the night to drink, and, I didn’t feel like I needed an IV of fluids before my coffee in the morning. I even felt more rested, which is worth more than gold when you’re a notoriously crappy sleeper like I am (not to mention mother of two young kids that keep me up at night). 

This discovery led me to look into the benefits of nasal breathing and breathwork in general, a path that I know will continue to enhance my life as it has done to so many others. I’ve bullet pointed a few reasons why you may want to explore mouth taping and nasal breathing yourself. If you’re a reader, I highly recommend starting with this book. 

Nasal Breathing: Nasal breathing involves inhaling and exhaling exclusively through your nose, as opposed to breathing through your mouth. This practice offers a range of health benefits including: 

  1. Improved Oxygen Exchange: The nose acts as a natural filter, humidifier, and temperature regulator for the air you breathe. Nasal passages are designed to optimize the exchange of oxygen, ensuring that the air you inhale is properly conditioned and free of impurities.
  2. Nitric Oxide Production: Nasal breathing stimulates the release of nitric oxide, a gas that plays a crucial role in widening blood vessels, enhancing blood flow, and supporting cardiovascular health.
  3. Enhanced Lung Function: Breathing through the nose engages the diaphragm more effectively, leading to deeper and more efficient breathing. This can improve lung capacity and oxygenation of the body.
  4. Reduced Stress Response: Nasal breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, often referred to as the "rest and digest" system. This can help reduce stress, anxiety, and the production of stress hormones.
  5. Improved Focus and Sleep: Nasal breathing encourages optimal oxygen delivery to the brain, supporting cognitive function and concentration. It can also aid in improving sleep quality by promoting relaxation and reducing disruptions.

Here’s the tape that I bought. If you try it, let me know what you think!