As humans, we’re fortunate to have two different methods of respiration: through the nose, or through the mouth. However, most people are unaware that we’re designed to breathe through our noses in all but exceptional situations. In fact, when we’re born we actually don’t have the ability to breathe through our mouths for the first few months, until our respiratory airways have fully developed. With that understanding, it should come as no surprise that there are countless nose breathing benefits. We’ll get into some of those benefits in this article.
Now, we don’t want to totally discredit mouth breathing. It definitely helps us out from time to time! Namely, there are two primary situations where we need to rely on mouth breathing. The first is when our nostrils are blocked due to things like allergies and sickness. The second is during high levels of physical exertion, when our muscles require an increased level of oxygen. However, beyond these two situations, we should be primarily breathing through our noses.
5 Nose Breathing Benefits
Now that we’ve discussed the two types of breathing, let’s talk specifically about the health benefits of nose breathing. When compared to mouth breathing, there are countless benefits of nose breathing that can have both short and long term effects on your health. Let’s take a look at five of the most impactful ones.
1. Protection of the lungs and airways
When we breathe through our noses, we are better protecting our respiratory system by priming the air for respiration. Our nasal passageway warms and humidifies inhaled air before it goes further down the respiratory tract. This ensures that the inhaled air does not damage the airway or the lungs. Alternatively, breathing in dry, cold air - as happens when we mouth breathe - can irritate the airway and lungs, leading to wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. It is especially a problem for those with asthma, COPD or bronchitis.
Along these lines, an additional nose breathing benefit is that our nasal passageways also filter airborne particles. Mucus and nose hairs catch potentially harmful bacteria before it enters the respiratory tract, which can protect us from illnesses such as pneumonia.
2. Optimized oxygen and carbon dioxide levels
A second health benefit of nose breathing is that it regulates our body’s oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. As you probably know, we maintain a balance of O2 and CO2 by inhaling oxygen, absorbing the oxygen through the lungs, and then exhaling CO2. As it turns out, when we mouth breathe we are actually expellingtoo muchCO2. This is due to larger breaths and a higher rate of breathing when we mouth breathe. The lungs do not have time to absorb as much of the oxygen and therefore the breathing rate needs to increase further.
This overbreathing throws off our O2-CO2 balance, leading to many adverse effects including hyperventilation, lightheadedness, and less efficient body function. However, by nose breathing, we maintain homeostasis in our O2-CO2 exchange by breathing at a more relaxed rate.
3. Improved physical and cognitive performance
One of the lesser known, but highly impactful nose breathing benefits is that it uniquely creates nitric oxide. This underappreciated molecule occurs naturally in the body; however, nose breathing drastically increases its rate of production. This is highly beneficial as nitric oxide is a vasodilator, which means that it helps expand blood vessels to improve blood circulation. Among other things, this lowers blood pressure, boosts the immune system, improves exercise performance, increases brain function, fights erectile dysfunction and many other health-related issues associated with blood flow. If none of the other nose breathing benefits speak to you, do it for this little molecule. Your energy levels will thank you.
4. Superior oral health
Ask your dentist about nose breathing benefits and they’ll praise how good it is for your oral health. And they’re right! You see, our saliva continually washes away bacteria and keeps the protective membranes healthy inside our mouths. However, when you mouth breathe, that saliva dries up, leaving your teeth and gums susceptible to bacteria. The proliferation of these harmful bacteria can kill the oral microbiome. This leads to serious conditions like gingivitis, periodontitis, receding gums, cavities, oral decay, and halitosis (bad breath). Simply closing the mouth can ensure that the mouth cavity stays moist, thus preventing bad bacteria from wreaking havoc.
5. Prevention of dry mouth and nasal congestion
Expanding on nose breathing benefit #4 above, chronic mouth breathing can also lead to discomforts like dry mouth, sore throat, and nasal congestion. As the saliva in our mouth evaporates due to mouth breathing, our mouth dries out, leading to discomfort and dehydration. Do you wake up in the morning with your mouth feeling like a desert? Chances are that you are mouth breathing while you sleep.
The same is likely true if you wake up with congestion in your nose and sinuses. Although it seems intuitive to think that a stuffy nosecausesmouth breathing, it’s actually the other way around in most cases. Going back to the overbreathing we talked about in nose breathing benefit #2, one of our body's reactions to overbreathing is the production of mucus. The idea is that this mucus will slow the rate of breathing in order to rebalance your O2-CO2 levels. However, with continued mouth breathing throughout the night, this creates a vicious cycle resulting in you waking up feeling foggy and clogged up. By switching to nose breathing, you can avoid this situation and wake up feeling energized and well-rested.
Nose Breathing & Sleep: The Original Power Couple
Yogis, biohackers, and athletes are all aware of nose breathing benefits. In turn, they’ve become masters of incorporating nose breathing into their practice, training and day-to-day lives. But for the rest of us, how can we incorporate more nose breathing into our lives? Well, there are two ways.
It starts with being more cognizant of your breathing at all times. When you’re sitting at your desk, in the car, or out for a walk, make a conscious effort to keep your mouth closed, forcing yourself to inhale and exhale through your nose.
Secondly, one of the most impactful ways to incorporate more nose breathing into your life is to nose breathe while you sleep. On average, we spend one third of our lives sleeping. Imagine we could be using all that time to take advantage of the nose breathing benefits outlined above and eliminate the problems with mouth breathing. It turns out that many people who start nose breathing while they sleep notice an improvement in energy levels, mental clarity, and overall health after just one week.
But how can I ensure that I’m nose breathing while I sleep?
As mentioned, one of the best ways to take advantage of the nose breathing benefits listed above is to nose breathe while you sleep. But how can you force yourself to do that? Thankfully, Somnifix makes that easy.
Somnifix strips are a simple, safe, and incredibly effective way to ensure that you nose breathe all night long and reap the rewards of the many nose breathing benefits. Our skin-safe, hypoallergenic strips keep your lips sealed in a secure yet comfortable way so that you can get deeper, more restful sleep.
Looking to get your best sleep ever and experience the health benefits of nose breathing? We’ve helped over 100,000 people get better sleep. Click here to learn more about Somnifix and our 7-night Somnifix money-back guarantee. For less than $0.70 per day you can get deeper, more restful sleep and wake up every morning feeling like the best version of yourself.
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