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over breathing

Over breathing: A Detriment to Our Health

  • 5 min read

There are two ways to breathe - and one of them is wrong

In today’s world we give extensive thought and consideration to how much we eat, drink, sleep, workout, bathe, socialize, and brush our teeth. But when’s the last time you thought about how much you breathe? If you’re like most people, you’ve probably never given it more than a fleeting thought. But as it turns out, how much we breathe has a significant impact on our short and long term energy levels, health, and performance. Many people are surprised to learn that over breathing is possible, and not only that, it’s also very harmful.

Human beings have the luxury of two different methods of respiration: through the mouth, or through the nose. If you’re like most people, you’re probably thinking “Who cares? Air in, air out, it doesn’t matter how it gets there so long as I’m getting enough oxygen.” Well, it turns out that it does in fact matter how you breathe. In fact, it matters a great deal.

We’ve become chronic mouth breathers

For thousands of years, modern humans breathed exclusively through their noses. Ancient civilizations and tribes understood that mouth breathing was harmful and that everything possible should be done to avoid it. In James Nestor’s New York Times Best-Selling book Breath, he explores how nose breathing was at the root of the perfect teeth, muscular builds, and pictures of health embodied by these ancient peoples. Respiratory conditions such as snoring, sleep apnea, asthma and allergies were non-existent. So how did these issues become so prevalent in our society?

Since the onset of the Industrial Age, human life has undergone drastic changes. Improvements in technology and manufacturing have improved human life in so many ways. But it’s been detrimental to one key aspect: our ability to breathe. 

Modern day life has led to an unfortunate proliferation of elevated stress, consumption of processed foods, and sedentary lifestyle. The combination of these three factors has turned a large percentage of us into chronic mouthbreathers. While this may not be alarming to hear for many, it really should be. Mouth breathing is far inferior to nose breathing; it is not the natural method of respiration for humans. There are an extensive number of health issues that result from mouth breathing over time. 

mouth breathing over breathing

Mouth breathing is over breathing...and over breathing is harmful

The issues related to mouth breathing stem from two main issues:

  1. Air breathed through the mouth is not warmed, moistened, or filtered. This means it is not primed before entering our lungs.
  2. When we breathe through our mouths we are actuallyover breathing, which throws off the chemical balance within our bodies.

While the first issue is definitely concerning, in this article we’re focusing on the latter: the issues with over breathing.

Mouth breathing is over breathing, they are one in the same. You may be asking “What’s the big deal if I breathe in too much oxygen? Isn’t oxygen vital? Isn’t it good for me?” Well, over breathing is not just about oxygen. 

Let’s start with the inhale. While sleeping, the tissues in our mouth relax. If we over breathe while sleeping this means that we’re forcing more air into our lungs than our airways can handle. This results in turbulence, which presents itself as that familiar, annoying sound we know as snoring. That’s right, over breathing is the number one cause of snoring.

On the exhale, grade school science has taught us that we expel used carbon dioxide (CO2), the “waste” byproduct of respiration. However, when over breathing, we actually expeltoo muchCO2 from our bodies, leaving us in a CO2 deficient state. This leads to a myriad of problems.

It’s not about oxygen, it’s all about CO2

CO2 is thought of by many as a waste gas; something toxic to the human body. So wouldn’t we want to expel as much of it as possible from our bodies? As it turns out, no. 

You see, at any given time the oxygen levels in our blood is between 95-100%. This oxygen is vital to the optimal performance, health, and recovery of all of our tissues, muscles, and organs. However, our ability to transfer that oxygen from our red blood cells to our tissues is dependent on CO2. The explanation for this is a bit “sciencey” so let’s explain it with a metaphor.

Say the human body is represented by a high-end hotel with 1,000 rooms. The rooms represent the cells of bodily tissues like muscles and organs. Oxygen molecules are represented by 1,000 guests who are trying to check into the hotel, all at the same time. When a guest checks in, they are escorted to their room by a clerk, who represent the oxygen-carriers, the red blood cells. There are 1,000 clerks ready to escort each guest to their room. All the guests arrive at the same time and the clerks take them to their respective rooms. However, because the hotel has been “over breathing,” it only has 200 room keys (CO2 molecules) available. That means that a large number of clerks take guests to their rooms only to realize that they have no way to let the guest into the room. They circle back to the front desk every two minutes, hoping that a room key has become available. Guests keep arriving but the hotel can’t get them into their rooms.

Any hotel owner will tell you that this is not an optimal way to operate a hotel. What used to be a high-end hotel deteriorates into a neglected roadside motel.

Therefore, we can see that having a CO2 deficiency as a result of over breathing means that our bodies become inefficient at delivering oxygen to our cells. There’s plenty of oxygen in the body, it just isn’t getting to where it needs to go. As a result, this poor oxygen exchange leads to increased breathlessness during physical activity, higher blood pressure, weight gain, respiratory illnesses, and many other issues. 

The biggest problem with over breathing is that over breathing leads to more over breathing. As you become less efficient at exchanging oxygen, your lungs breathe more rapidly to meet the oxygen demands of the body. This over breathing makes the CO2 deficiency even worse, begetting more and more over breathing. It’s a vicious cycle. 

over breathing

Stop over breathing and reap the rewards

The good news is that it’s possible to stop the cycle. In fact, you can evenreverse the cycle! The key to overcoming over breathing is to inhibit mouth breathing as much as possible. Instead, you want to consciously nose breathe as much as possible during the day, and force yourself to nose breathe during sleep. 

Nose breathing is the optimal form of respiration. The nose primes inhaled air for the lungs by warming, filtering, and moistening it. It brings in the optimal quantity of air so that there is no turbulence-induced snoring while sleeping. And it provides a wealth of health benefits including:

  • Parasympathetic response activation for deeper, more restorative sleep
  • Improved cognitive and physical performance
  • Superior oral health including stronger gums and reduced likelihood of cavities
  • No more morning dry mouth
  • Nitric oxide production - a vasodilator that improves blood flow leading to lower blood pressure, the prevention of erectile dysfunction, and more!

Plus, the great thing is that just like over breathing, nose breathing leads to more nose breathing. By making a conscious effort to nose breathe you can reverse the negative effects of mouth breathing and build healthy momentum with nose breathing.

stop over breathing

SomniFix is the ultimate nose breathing solution

Sure, it’s easy enough to consciously focus on nose breathing while awake, working or moving about your day. But what about during sleep? How can we ensure that we don’t over breathe while we sleep? Thankfully, SomniFix makes that easy!

SomniFix Strips are designed to stop mouth breathing dead in its tracks. By keeping the lips sealed with a gentle, skin-safe adhesive, SomniFix Strips facilitate nose breathing all night long. Tens of thousands of people have made the switch to SomniFix and are now sleepy silently and breathing optimally. 

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Promote nose breathing and get a better night of sleep tonight!

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