We’re all familiar with the dreaded, repetitive, and irritating sound of snoring. Whether you snore or your partner is the culprit, it fragments your sleep, leaving you restless for the day ahead.
Mouth breathing while sleeping is the top cause of snoring. We’ve broken down why this happens (and how to prevent it), but before we dissect the details, let’s first take a closer look at the mechanics of snoring.
The Mechanics of Snoring
As you sleep, your body enters a state of relaxation and restoration. This means that your muscles relax – including all of the muscles and tissues in the airway.
When these tissues relax, they may fall back into the airway, partially blocking your ability to breathe normally.
As air flows through this blockage, the tissues vibrate together, producing the sound of snoring that we all know and hate.
This is more common in mouth breathing as opposed to nasal breathing since mouth breathing encourages the airway tissues to fall backward more than closed-mouth nasal breathing.
As the airway becomes more narrow, the volume of each snore increases. Some people are more prone to snoring than others due to several factors, such as:
A low, thick soft palate or large tonsils
Obesity/extra tissue around the throat and airway
Alcohol or tobacco use, which relaxes the muscles in the throat
A family history of snoring
Men also seem to have a higher risk of snoring than women. In reality, around 40% of menreport snoring in comparison to just 20% of women.
Age may also play a role. People over the age of 40 tend to snore more than younger people due to the weakening of airway muscles with age.
Another common cause of breathing through the mouth when sleeping is chronic nasal congestion, which a whopping 1 in 4 Americansstruggle with daily.
Chronic Nasal Congestion And Mouth Breathing While Sleeping
Many of us experience chronic congestion during the day that reduces airflow through the nose.
At night, this congestion typically worsens when lying down in comparison to standing. With a blocked nose, the mouth is the only available method of oxygen exchange.
Allergies, infection, and illness are the most common causes of chronic congestion, but a deviated septum may be another underlying contributor.
Breathing exercises may help you decongest, which will then allow you to focus your attention on nasal breathing instead of mouth breathing.
To decongest instantly, begin by normalizing your breathing. Then, take a small breath in through the nose followed by a small breath out of the nose, if you’re able to do so.
If you’re unable to breathe in and out of the nose altogether, take a tiny breath in through the mouth.
From there, pinch your nose with your fingers and begin to hold your breath with a closed mouth. Nod your head up and down until you feel a strong hunger for air.
Then, release your nose and breathe normally. Repeat this as needed until you can breathe in and out of your nose without a blockage.
Now that we understand the main causes of mouth breathing and how it leads to snoring, it’s vital to take a look at why mouth breathing and snoring are so harmful to our wellbeing.
Mouth Breathing Harms Oxygen Levels
If you’re a habitual mouth breather during the day, you’ll likely suffer from mouth breathing while sleeping. Mouth breathing is directly connected to sleep apnea, which affects the exchange rates of carbon dioxide and oxygenwithin the blood.
Sleep apnea sufferers experience multiple pauses in breathing throughout the night, known as apneas. With these apneas, less oxygen reaches the brain, affecting concentration and focus during waking hours.
As a result, chronic fatigue and brain fog follow. Inflammation is also commonly associated with these abnormal oxygen levels, which can raise your risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.
Beyond that, the lapses in breathing harm bodily functions such as digestion.
Mouth Breathing Impairs Immunity and Digestion
Chronic mouth breathing causes the body to rise in acidity, which typically makes digestion difficult. This makes it harder for the body to absorb nutrients within the gut.
Moreover, excessive mouth breathing is associated with large amounts of swallowed air. This air moves into the small intestine, causing bloating, pain, and oftentimes excessive burping.
Beyond digestive challenges, mouth breathing leads to lowered immunity since the mouth doesn’t filter the air in the same way the nose does.
Our nostrils are filled with nose hair that serves the purpose of filtering out bacteria, toxins, germs, dust, and dirt before it reaches the lungs. This protects the body from illness.
Furthermore, the nostrils add moisture to the air we breathe and warm our breath, humidifying our oxygen for easier absorption.
The mouth doesn’t offer these features, making the nose the superior method of breathing we should all take advantage of.
Why Breathing Through the Nose is Superior
We’ve mentioned that the nose is superior to the mouth when it comes to breathing. But what is the main powerhouse behind all of the benefits?
When we nasal breathe, the body produces nitric oxide, a miraculous vasodilator that lowers cortisol levels by activating the parasympathetic nervous system.
In summary, nasal breathing is one of the easiest ways to prevent illness, enhance sleep quality, and revamp our health.
That’s why you must stop breathing through your mouth when sleeping (and while awake) and switch to nasal breathing instead.
How to Stop Mouth Breathing While Sleeping
If you want to prevent mouth breathing while sleeping, one of the best places to start is your sleeping position.
Switch to side sleeping if you can, since sleeping on your back causes the airway muscles to fall inward, leading to an increased risk of breathing through the mouth when sleeping.
On your side, you have better control of your breathing and may be able to better maintain a proper lip seal.
Physical aids can also help you stop breathing through your mouth when sleeping.
Nasal dilators physically keep the nostrils open, making nasal breathing more achievable. Two common types exist: internal dilators and external dilators.
Internal dilators work from within the nose, keeping the nostrils dilated from inside each nostril. External dilators, commonly called nasal strips, keep the nostrils open by adhering to the outside of the nostrils.
However, nasal dilators don’t offer a lip seal, meaning that mouth breathing while sleeping is still possible.
Conversely, mouth tape forces you to use the nose to breathe by making mouth breathing virtually impossible.
Mouth tape keeps the lips together, preventing snoring, dry mouth, improper tongue posture, and more.
But you can’t just use any old tape – some tape adhesives are full of chemicals that cause skin irritation and don’t offer a comfortable fit. SomniFix does.
SomniFix: Your Secret Weapon For Snoreless Sleep
Snoring is caused by open-mouth breathing, which leads to airway collapse. The best way to prevent it is to keep your mouth closed while you sleep and breathe through the nose.
Mouth tape is the perfect physical aid to help you achieve this as you sleep.
SomniFix Mouth Strips were designed for a comfortable fit for even the most sensitive skin. Our gel-like adhesive is latex-free, gluten-free, and hypoallergenic, so you’ll forget you’re even wearing mouth tape!
Better yet, you can wear SomniFix Strips in combination with a CPAP machine if you suffer from sleep apnea.
No matter your sleep goals, SomniFix is here to help you nasal breathing into the night, preventing mouth breathing and stopping snoring in its tracks.
Start taping your way to snoreless sleep tonight!
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