The Benefits of Taping Your Mouth Closed During Sleep
What I learned from retraining myself to breathe through the nose
I’m a sleep geek. Like many who are caught up in the personal development and biohacking craze, I have read, listened to, and I tried nearly every trick in the book — a dark room, eight-plus hours of sleep, exercise, decreased caffeine, a better bed, specialized sleep music, meditation, no alarm. Yawn!
Even though getting to sleep was never a problem for me, no matter what I did, I’d often wake up feeling tired, anxious, and riddled with aches and pains. Sadly, I even started to think these issues were normal.
Then, a little over a year ago, I listened to an episode of the Broken Brain podcast with Mark Burhenne, DDS, bestselling author of The 8-Hour Sleep Paradox. He was on the show to talk about sleep and, more importantly, the dangers of mouth breathing while sleeping.
While many of us use our mouth to breathe, this is actually the primary role of the nose. Breathing through the mouth is designed primarily for emergencies, such as when we have nasal congestion or during exercise.
While mouth breathing during sleep may seem innocent, Burhenne explained that it can lead to health issues — including an increased risk of cavities, elevated blood pressure (connected to anxiety), grinding of the teeth, dry mouth and various other concerns. Mouth breathing has even been linked to behavior issues in children and infants.
Fortunately, there is a solution that doesn’t require any complicated procedures or expensive purchases and is easy for anyone to try at home: mouth tape!
Why mouth tape?
While mouth tape may sound like a joke or some new weird health hack, it’s actually been around as a suggested measure for years. Burhenne explained its value by detailing how humans evolved from nasal breathers to mouth breathers. He explained that mouth breathing is a relatively recent phenomenon for humans. When comparing our ancestors’ archaeological records, there appears to be a clear difference in our facial structure and airways.