How This Helps

Do sleep-related disorders like snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea trouble you and your partner? Are you looking for ways to get rid of this problem? Well, breathing through the mouth may be a reason that gives rise to all these sleep-related disorders. Chronic mouth breathing may also pose other health-related disorders like dry mouth, dental and gum issues, fatigue during daytime, lethargy, disordered palate, and jaw growth in children. In such cases, one can consider using mouth tape. Using the mouth tape during night time can help you to sleep well and reap the benefits of good health. Ayurveda and Yoga have long recognized nasal breathing benefits, and have many treatments based on nostril breathing that result in many health benefits.

What is the mouth tape?

Mouth taping is minimally invasive, pain-free, and totally secure (unlike trying to sleep with heavy-duty duct tape covering your mouth). Brands such as Somnifix have generated special adhesive strips that were designed especially for mouth taping. They are hypoallergenic, easily removed simply by opening your mouth, and shaped to sit right on the lips. Mouth taping supports the individual to help them breathe through their nose during the night time sleep.

Mouth tape is not duct tape or some other arbitrary, store-bought tape which you plaster on your lips.

See: Ayurvedic and Holistic approaches in dental treatments

Mouth tape for nasal breathing

Why is it important to use a mouth tape during night time?

Using mouth tape during night time enhances the production of nitric oxide in the body. Nose breathing habits have many benefits. It forces you to breathe out through your nose and promotes dental and oral health. Nasal breathing stimulates the production of nitric oxide from the paranasal sinuses. This Nitric Oxide will normally reach the lungs with inspiration, and circulates in the whole body and is linked to reduced inflammation, improved sleep, improved cognitive function, and promotes an overall increase in the immune system function. This is the basic reason why nose breathing is more important in people who breathe through the mouth.

See: Nadi Shodana Pranayama - Alternate Nostril Breathing

Mouth taping health benefits

Reasons for mouth taping at night. Why is it important? 

1. Deeper, better sleep: When an individual perceives any kind of danger, the mouth opens up automatically due to involuntary action caused by the body's body's fight/flight/freeze-mechanism. Similarly, people who breathe through their mouths while sleeping are considered to be restless. This is why mouth taping is important in such people to promote deeper sleep.8.

2. Reduced snoring: When an individual starts to sleep with a mouth tape on, he or she may experience reduced snoring over time. Breathing through the mouth during night time triggers snoring, which may disturb your sleep as well as others' sleep. With the help of a mouth tape, you can start breathing through your nose, which will reduce snoring over time.8.

3. Maintains heart rate: nitric oxide released from the paranasal sinuses and circulated throughout the body is known to activate the endothelin factor in the blood vessels and promotes vasodilation. Thus a simple use of mouth tape can help you maintain a good heart rate and blood pressure.8.

4. Improves blood oxygen levels: Nasal breathing involves deep inspiration and expiration through which the proper oxygen levels are maintained throughout the body. Also, nasal breathing promotes a lower heart rate during the night which promotes proper blood supply and oxygen levels throughout the body..2

5. Asthma: Research has shown that breathing through the nose provides very warm, filtered, and moist air. This can benefit patients suffering from respiratory problems like asthma.1

6. Allergies: breathing through the mouth makes an individual prone to catch allergies. This is because breathing through the mouth causes cold, dry air to pass through the back of the throat and lungs of an individual. This may congest the nose and can cause allergies. Applying a mouth tape induces nasal breathing where mucus is released, which helps alleviate dryness.6.

7. Dental health: Breathing through mouth results in a dry mouth. A dry mouth, in turn, leads to the dental cavities due to a reduction in the available protection coating of saliva and altered pH levels.7.

8. Good breath: Mouth taping may help maintain the natural composition of the microbiome in your mouth. Whereas, breathing directly through the mouth may alter the salivary pH and kill the good microbes. This results in bad breath, making it important for an individual to use mouth tape while sleeping.7.

9. Calmer mind and body: Breathing through the mouth can lead to over-breathing and make people sick. In such cases, individuals using mouth tape and promoting nasal breathing can experience the benefits of a calmer mind and body with fewer diseases.4.

10. Nitric oxide: Nasal breathing promotes the release of Nitric Oxide, which in turn serves numerous functions like promoting heart health, immune system, cognitive function, and brain health.2,3. 

11. Avoid hyperventilation: If an individual sleeps with their mouth open, it may automatically exceed the body's needs resulting in hyperventilation. Hyperventilating may alter the oxygen/carbon dioxide balance in the body and also leads to oxygen deficiency.

12. Keeps your mouth shut:  Application of mouth tape during night time while sleeping is an easy and cheap way to ensure that the mouth of an individual stays closed and respiration occurs only through your nose.

13. Wake up rested: Nasal breathing is a practice of good breathing habits. Nasal breathing while sleeping enhances the probability of an individual to relax by reducing the toxins from the body and mind. 

14. Reduced risk of teeth grinding: Mouth breathing individuals suffer from problems related to sleep or sleep breathing. Individuals with a disordered sleep breathing habit may also develop a natural reflex mechanism to force the air entry into the airways, which causes teeth grinding and damage to teeth.

15. Dry mouth: Breathing through the mouth causes dry mouth, which in turn promotes cavities. This is because there is no saliva left in your mouth to protect your teeth. This may hamper the process of remineralization of teeth, altered pH, creating an acidic zone in the mouth and allowing bacteria to flourish, causing dental caries.2.

16. An effective way for the diagnosis of more serious issues: In some cases, the reason behind an individual unable to breathe through the nose may be due to nasal blockages. This can be diagnosed if a person tries to breathe through the nose by applying mouth tape but fails to do so.9.

17. Cut down on nighttime bathroom trips: One great potential of mouth tape is that it can reduce bathroom trips during nighttime. Using a mouth tape can help an individual breathe normally through the nose by shutting the brain signals that urge an individual to use the restroom very frequently.9

18. Prevents drooling: Drooling is the most common problem observed in a person breathing through the mouth. Using a mouth tape can reduce drooling by promoting breathing through the nose.10

19. Maintains cognitive function: Nose breathing with the aid of mouth tape is known to remove all the toxins from the brain, promotes good sleep, and enhances the cognitive ability of an individual.4.

20. Improves the immune system: A sound sleep can promote better health of an individual, which enhances the immune system against various infections.6.


See: Nitric oxide supplements health benefits & side effects

How do you tape your mouth?

How to begin mouth taping to get better overall health

To begin mouth taping, start looking for a specially made mouth tape or surgical micropore tape. The latter is less expensive but might leave you with some residue in the daytime. Both of these choices are the safest to use on the sensitive skin of your lips. Never use duct tape or another tape, not specially made for use on skin.

Tape your mouth with the greatest surface area of the lips to attach to. Avoid using face creams and lip balm before bed. These may make it more difficult to stick mouth tape into your lips, so try using these 30 to 60 minutes before bed.

If you do not make it all night with tape, don't throw in the towel. It is pretty common to take a few nights to adapt to this new habit. I have been mouth taping for quite a long time and still sometimes wake up without tape on my lips. If you have been having the exact same problem and trying to mouth for a few weeks, you might have to look into why your body needs to resort to mouth breathing. Typical offenders are sinus infections, allergies, a dusty bedroom, or a deviated septum.

See: Nose breathing exercises for health benefits

Mouth tape risks & precautions

1. Will taped mouth make you suffocate with nasal congestion?

While taping the mouth closed can sound scary, it is unable to overcome your body's natural desire to keep breathing. If your mind picks up on an inability to breathe due to a stuffy nose or any other issue, it is going to force your teeth to grind and wake you up. Frequently, you'll get rid of the tape in your mouth without consciously realizing you are awake.

2. How long should you mouth tape?

Though you may train your body into a better habit after a few weeks or months of taping, there is no real reason to stop taping. But, there is no set amount of time it requires mouth taping to reset this habit, as it'll be different for each individual.

3. Mouth taping tips

- Use the perfect tape. Sure, you may use simple surgical tape if you are the no-frills type. But there are brands such as Somnifix that specialize in this sort of sleep procedure. Each Somnifix strip includes a vent so that if your nose has completely filled up during the night, you can still breathe. And unlike surgical tape, they do not leave any sticky residue on the lips.

- Apply a thin coating of vaseline to your lips until you adhere tape. This helps decrease the stickiness in the daytime. If you are feeling nervous about completely covering your mouth, you may start by taping in the top lip and leave some space for emergency breathing.

- Mold your tape to fit your requirements. If you are using surgical tape, tear off a little more than you will want and fold the opposite ends to make mini handles. This makes it effortless to pull the tape back momentarily through the night if you will need to have a sip of water, cough, or speak.

- Help your body adjust. You might also try taping your mouth for intervals throughout the day so that you get used to it.


See: Sleeping on the left side health benefits

Summary

Mouth taping promotes breathing through the nose, which provides various benefits and helps fight problems dry mouth, bad breath, asthma, and many others. Nose breathing promotes warm, filtered, and moist air inside the lungs to benefit sufferers with problems related to sleep. There has not been any case controlled evidence-based scientific studies to confirm that oral taping is a powerful method for improving sleep.

See: Yoga for sleep disorders

References

1. Cooper, Sue & Oborne, Janet & Harrison, Tim & Tattersfield, Anne. (2009). Effect of mouth taping at night on asthma control - A randomized, single-blind crossover study. Respiratory medicine. 103. 813-9. 10.1016/j.rmed.2009.02.003. 

2. Sano M, Sano S, Oka N, Yoshino K, Kato T. Increased oxygen load in the prefrontal cortex from mouth breathing: a vector-based near-infrared spectroscopy study. Neuroreport. 2013;24(17):935–940. DOI:10.1097/WNR.0000000000000008.

3. Settergren, G., Angdin, M., Astudillo, R., Gelinder, S., Liska, J., Lundberg, J. O. N., & Weitzberg, E. (1998). Decreased pulmonary vascular resistance during nasal breathing: modulation by endogenous nitric oxide from the paranasal sinuses. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica, 163(3), 235-239. Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9715735

4. Weitzdoerfer, R., Hoeger, H., Engidawork, E., Engelmann, M., Singewald, N., Lubec, G., & Lubec, B. (2004). Neuronal nitric oxide synthase knock-out mice show impaired cognitive performance. Nitric oxide, 10(3), 130-140. Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15158692

5. Rees, D. D., Palmer, R. M., & Moncada, S. (1989). Role of endothelium-derived nitric oxide in the regulation of blood pressure. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 86(9), 3375-3378. Full text: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC287135/

6. Nussler, A. K., & Billiar, T. R. (1993). Inflammation, immunoregulation, and inducible nitric oxide synthase. Journal of leukocyte biology, 54(2), 171-178.

7. Basheer, B., Hegde, K. S., Bhat, S. S., Umar, D., & Baroudi, K. (2014). Influence of mouth breathing on the dentofacial growth of children: a cephalometric study. Journal of international oral health: JIOH, 6(6), 50. Full text: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4295456/

8. Benninger, M., & Walner, D. (2007). Obstructive sleep-disordered breathing in children. Clinical cornerstone, 9, S6-12. Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17584620

9. https://www.everydayhealth.com/sleep/mouth-taping-cheapest-life-hack-better-sleep/

10. https://www.ondietandhealth.com/why-tape-my-mouth-at-night/

See: Ashwagandha for sleep before bed

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