Many of us are unaware that our breathing patterns are very likely messing with the functionality of our bodies. By learning how to keep your mouth closed while sleeping, you can dramatically improve your health and well-being!
Bad breathing habits could be affecting your body’s ability to sleep. Incorrect breathing techniques can also harm your mood, ability to digest food, heart health, nervous system, muscle tone, and brain functioning.
On a brighter note, there are tons of benefits to be had by learning to breathe right. Some of these are increased energy levels, a stronger immune system, better overall physical health, and less anxiety.
What are the benefits of nose breathing?
There are many reasons why you need to breathe through your nose while sleeping. Fortunately, with a little effort, this is an easily treatable condition that can improve your health in the following ways;
- For a more restful sleep
- To absorb more oxygen in your lungs
- To strengthen your immune system
- You won’t annoy your partner by snoring
- Your bronchial tubes and lungs will remain hydrated and moisturized
- Warmer and cleaner air will be inhaled which is easier on your lungs
- Your nose will filter out pollen and other harmful particles
- You can prevent dental issues from developing
How are you supposed to breathe?
Your breath should enter and exit your body through the nose. The nose acts as a kind of mini-factory that prepares the air coming into your body so that it can be used by the lungs in the most efficient way possible.
If you always breathe through your mouth, your lungs get higher levels of unfiltered air which can be cold, dry, and teaming with nasty viruses and/or bacteria. You should breathe through your nose as much as possible, especially when you sleep.
You may sometimes feel that your nose is “blocked” and that nose breathing is not possible for you. Chances are that you have been breathing incorrectly for such a long time that your body has adapted to your bad habits. Don’t worry though because you can reverse your bad breathing techniques. In a few days, you can open up those nostrils and start breathing the right way.
What are the causes of sleeping with your mouth open?
- Anxiety – Anxiety and stress can make you more likely to breathe with your mouth both during the day and at night. A weighted blanket can help to reduce anxiety.
- Allergies – Many substances can provoke an allergic reaction such as pollen, pet dander, or dust. It can be almost impossible to breathe through your nose when suffering from a runny nose or congestion. Air purifiers are a great way to help sufferers of allergies.
- Sickness – Ailments such as cold and flu may force you to breathe through your mouth. There’s not much you can do about this.
- Asthma – This is caused by inflammation inside the lungs and is often associated with shortness of breath. People that suffer from asthma tend to breathe through their mouths.
- A deviated septum – Caused by birth defects or a liking for hard drugs. A deviated septum is when the nasal septum is crooked or off-center. If the cartilage or bone becomes damaged, breathing through the nose can become difficult.
- Sleep Apnea – Obstructive sleep apnea is caused when any part of the upper airway is repeatedly blocked during sleep. This condition restricts the flow of air. In severe cases, it can ultimately prevent the brain from receiving signals that the body needs air.
Why is it better to breathe through your nose?
The human body’s normal anatomical function is to breathe using the nose. There are many reasons for this.
When you breathe through the mouth, nitric oxide gas is produced. This gas decreases the lung’s oxygen absorption capacity. This can lead to oxygen deficiency and other health issues.
When you breathe through your nose, the air is cleansed of harmful microbes and other pollutants. As the air moves through the nose, it is filtered by the mucus lining of the nostrils and the air is warmed before arriving in the lungs.
Mouth breathing is also bad for oral health. Over time, it can dry out gums and increase acidity which can lead to higher levels of plaque, cavities, and gum disease.
Other issues associated with mouth breathing are a hoarse voice, dehydration, bad breath, snoring, and sleep apnea.
How to sleep with your mouth closed
Make yourself breathe with your mouth closed. You can start this technique immediately. Just keep reminding yourself to breathe the right way (through the nose) during all of your daily activities.
You may forget as the day progresses but each time you find yourself mouth breathing, just remind yourself to breathe through your nose. A few days of this should be enough to break your bad habits. If you are struggling, you could try setting a reminder on your phone or leaving post-it notes around your home or office.
Another tip for developing a healthy breathing function is to try to maintain a regular breathing pattern. You should keep your mouth closed as much as possible and keep a good, upright posture. Many mouth breathers tend to lean their head forward. Try to keep your head upright which in turn keeps your airways clear.
It might seem tricky at first, but give it a little time, and eventually, you will condition your mind and body to breathe correctly while maintaining the correct posture.
Keep your head elevated when you are sleeping
If you are a chronic mouth breather and your head is never elevated when you sleep, doing just that might fix your problem. By sleeping in a bad position, your snoring will be worse as it forces you to open your mouth.
You should always keep your head at a higher level than your body so take some time to find the right pillow or consider investing in an adjustable mattress.
Another benefit of keeping your head elevated is to prevent acid influx. A raised head will prevent stomach acids from rising into your throat which ensures that you get an unrestricted flow of air.
Try a different sleeping position
If you tend to sleep on your back, this can make it more difficult to breathe the right way. Folks that sleep on their backs tend to take bigger breaths. This makes it impossible for them to exhale through the nose as the breath has no option but to exit via the mouth.
As a rule of thumb, try to sleep on your side or stomach. This will also prevent the tongue and soft plates from vibrating and making a sound as you sleep.
Try a nose-clearing technique
Blocked noses are often the reason for mouth breathing and performing a nose-clearing routine can certainly help decrease the chance of suffering from this debilitating condition.
Dr. Rosalba Courtney, an Australian breathing therapist, devised a breathing technique called “Buteyko Breathing.”
This method requires that you close your mouth before inhaling forcefully through your nose and then exhaling. It works well for most people as it trains you how to breathe through your nose instead of your mouth. It’s really easy and only takes a minute or two to complete.
Get enough exercise
Physical exercise such as yoga and cardiovascular workouts encourage breathing through the nostrils.
Scientific research has also shown that heavier people often have issues with mouth breathing. Try to find the time to exercise each day and you should notice that you will sleep better and will be less prone to breathe through your nose.
Ensure your crib is allergen-free
When we sleep with our mouths open, airborne nasties can enter our respiratory system so take a look around your bedroom and remove anything which could affect the air quality.
Plants may look nice in your sleeping area but they can make it more difficult to breathe. During the night, plants take in oxygen and pump out carbon dioxide. This can cause a conflict as you are actually in competition for oxygen with your plants.
Carpets and rugs can also worsen your bedroom’s air quality as they often harbor dust and bacteria. Don’t forget to change your bed linen often and wash them thoroughly in hot water.
Finally, if you have a habit of sleeping with a pet, it might be better that they sleep in a different room. Pet dander can cause severe irritation and make breathing more labored.
You may wish to consider using an air purifier like the Levoit air purifier with a True HEPA filter. It has three fan speeds and removes 99.97% of harmful particles so that your airways remain unobstructed while you sleep.
Use a good-quality nasal spray
When your nose feels blocked, it’s all too easy to start breathing through your mouth.
Nasal sprays are designed to promote smooth airflow through your nasal passages. This greatly reduces the need to breathe orally.
Nasal sprays are also a great way to add well-needed moisture to your nose. Saline sprays are excellent at alleviating nasal congestion.
An excellent nasal spray is the NasalCrom nasal allergy symptom controller which actually stabilizes the nose’s mast cells. This stops them from releasing histamines and other irritants that can cause allergy symptoms.
Consider using a mouthguard
A very popular way to keep your mouth closed when you sleep is to use a mouthguard. These hugely popular devices are a great way to keep your mouth closed while you sleep.
There are many kinds of mouthguards available these days. If you decide to give one a try, make sure that it feels comfortable and is made of the highest quality materials.
We recommend the Neomen sleep aid custom night mouth guard. It prevents pain, oral complications, and damage as it’s custom-made to fit your teeth. It’s BPA and latex-free, dentist-approved, and easy to use.
If all else fails, try chin strips
Chin straps are “horse-shoe” shaped devices that are made to support the chin as you sleep. These ingenious devices can be extremely effective in preventing mouth breathing if all else has failed.
These devices force you to breathe with your nose by physically keeping your mouth closed. You should consider using chin strips if all other methods haven’t worked.
Chin strips also provide relief for snorers and can be used on their own or in conjunction with other methods such as nasal sprays and mouth guards.
One of the most comfortable chin straps on the market is made by P & J Health.
If you enjoyed this article about how to keep your mouth closed while sleeping. You might also like to learn about the benefits of weighted blankets from our wellness section.