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We all understand that breathing is vitally important, but at the same time it’s not something we usually give much thought to. It just happens automatically. But the truth is, there are many ways to breathe, and the way in which you breathe truly matters. Do you breathe through your nose? Your mouth? Through both your nose and your mouth? Many of us actually breathe incorrectly, and that can have an incredibly harmful effect on your health. In this article, we’ll explore how breathing correctly can boost your immune system and improve your quality of life.
So what is the “correct” way to breathe? Well, our bodies were designed to breathe through the nose rather than the mouth. When you breathe through the nose, your body functions in a more effective and efficient manner. You can read more about that here.
Additionally, the nose also acts as nature’s air filter. As your breath passes through the nostrils, mucous membranes present in the nasal cavity help to moisten and warm your breath before it enters the lungs. The warm air is healthier, safer, and easier to breathe. Plus, small hairs inside the nasal cavity filter out and block airborne particles from entering your body. When you breathe in through the mouth, the air is not warmed or filtered, which can be harmful to your health. On top of all this, nasal breathing produces nitric oxide. This helps to fight viruses and kill bacteria while also managing the immune system and lowering blood pressure. If you’re used to mouth breathing, training yourself to breathe through the nose can seem challenging. Thankfully, there are some quick and easy ways to train your breathing and reap the rewards.
The best way to nasal breathe is to breathe slowly and deeply rather than taking quick and shallow breaths. During rest, you should train yourself to take only 5 to 6 breaths each minute and they should come from deep in the belly instead of the chest. This can help to improve anxiety, focus, and even calm anger because this method increases carbon dioxide levels in your blood (that’s a good thing) and alleviates stress. If you’re having issues remembering to breathe through the nose rather than your mouth, set multiple reminders on your phone to give yourself time throughout the day to focus on your breathing. If your nose is stuffed up, there are thankfully several breathing techniques you can try out to clear out your nasal passageways so that you can continue to breathe through the nose. These exercises are especially helpful if you are sick and need some quick relief from congestion.
If you’re sick, have allergies, or have a respiratory issue like asthma, you’re probably no stranger to having a congested nose. Luckily, some breathing exercises work to open up nasal passages. If breathing exercises don’t help, you may have a blockage, such as a nasal polyp, that requires treatment from your physician. Here’s a quick exercise to start off with!
To begin, sit in a vertical position and take several calming, slow breaths. Inhale through the nose for two seconds and then exhale through the nose for three seconds. If your nose is so blocked that you can’t inhale through the nostrils, it is acceptable to take small breaths through the corner of your mouth for the sake of this exercise instead. Once you have exhaled, gently pinch your nose and be sure that your mouth is closed. Begin slowly nodding your head while holding your breath. Do this for as long as possible, holding the breath until you can’t anymore. Then, breathe in through the nose slowly and calmly. Wait several minutes and repeat the exercise. Keep repeating each step until your nasal passages become unblocked.
You can also try to breathe through the nose while pressing on the pressure point between the eyes. Push your tongue up to the roof of your mouth, breathe through the nose, and press on this point for twenty seconds. This should drain your sinuses. Once your nose is unblocked, it’s important to continue breathing through the nose rather than your mouth to make sure you don’t become congested again. Mouth breathing constricts the airways and boosts the production of mucus, which increases your chances of getting a blocked nose again. It seems impossible that holding your breath can actually help you breathe; so how does this exercise work?
When you hold your breath and nod your head with your nose pinched, your nose, lungs, and cells begin to accumulate larger amounts of carbon dioxide than they’re used to. Carbon dioxide is a dilator that allows muscles in the sinuses, bronchi, and bronchioles to open. As a result, carbon dioxide widens the nasal passageways, which leads to fast nasal congestion. Vasodilation also occurs, which means that the blood vessels in your body dilate. When blood vessels dilate, more blood can move through the veins. This improves the blood and oxygen supply across the body and helps to lower blood pressure. Both vasodilation and the dilation of your passageways work to relax the body and the mind.
Carbon dioxide also acts as an antibacterial. A study completed at the Karolinska Institute located in Sweden found that the growth of staphylococci bacteria was 1,000 times higher when bacteria were placed in normal air for 24 hours as opposed to 24 hours in carbon dioxide. Now that you know how to keep nose breathing during the day, you’re likely wondering how to ensure that you keep breathing through the nose at night.
If you’re concerned about your immune system, nose breathing is a simple way to ensure that you filter out harmful germs and bacteria and give your body what it needs to ward off illness. But it can be difficult to make sure you nasal breathe at night. That’s where our mouth strips come in! Pop Somnifix mouth tape on before bed and drift into improved health - and improved sleep.
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