Are you ready for a super simple tip that can help take your sleep health to the next level?
In this week’s newsletter, we’re talking about the benefits of mouth taping and how you can get started doing it today!
I know it might sound a little scary at first, but I can assure you that mouth taping is super safe and highly effective, based on my personal experience and from talking with top experts like Dr. Mark Burhenne and New York Times bestselling author James Nestor.
So what’s the big deal with mouth taping, and how does it work?
The simple act of taping your mouth shut at night encourages you to breathe through your nose instead of breathing through your mouth, which results in a deeper, more restful night’s sleep.
Sounds crazy? Maybe! But people swear by this practice!
So who should explore mouth taping?
If you have sleep apnea, snore, grind your teeth at night, wake up with drool on your pillow, or feel tired and groggy in the morning for no reason, this newsletter and today’s protocol are for you!
Let’s jump right in!
What’s So Bad about Mouth Breathing?
Our nose was primarily designed for breathing and smelling, and our mouth was primarily designed for eating, tasting, and talking. When we use these body parts outside of their intended use, problems start to emerge.
An estimated 25 percent of our bodies’ nitric oxide is produced from breathing through our noses (1). We talked about the benefits of nitric oxide in a previous newsletter, but essentially it’s a gaseous molecule that dilates our arteries and promotes better blood flow and circulation.
Higher levels of nitric oxide are associated with better sleep quality, regulated blood pressure, less inflammation, a balanced immune response, lower risk for heart disease, enhanced memory and learning, fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression, and more.
But when we breathe through our mouth, we’re not making as much nitric oxide, which means we’re missing out on all of these benefits and more!
The other problem with mouth breathing is that it dries out our mouth and disrupts our oral microbiome. A lack of saliva makes our mouth more acidic and causes bad oral bacteria to take over, which makes us more prone to cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. Yuck!
Want to hear something wild?
My friend Dr. Burhenne considers mouth breathing to be the number one cause of cavities, even coming before poor diet and bad dental hygiene. 🤯
Who Would Benefit the Most from Mouth Taping?
Anyone can reap the benefits of mouth taping for optimizing their sleep and overall health. Some people may notice an even bigger difference, though, especially if they deal with any of the following conditions:
- Sleep apnea
- Dry mouth
- Bad breath
- Gum disease
- Teeth grinding
- High blood pressure
- Anxiety and depression
More people are dealing with sleep apnea and disordered sleep breathing than you would think, and it can show up in a number of different ways.
Here’s a personal anecdote: I used to grind my teeth at night, which is one way our bodies deal with disordered sleep breathing—because it helps bring more oxygen into our airways.
After I started mouth taping, I noticed a massive improvement in my sleep and way less tension in my jaws. Mouth taping worked so well that I even got my wife on board! She has a prominent tongue tie, and mouth tape helped her achieve a deeper, more restful sleep. Happy wife, happy life!
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Some FAQs about Mouth Breathing…
Can you use mouth tape even if you have sleep apnea and use a CPAP machine? Yes! In fact, using mouth tape with a CPAP machine can provide additional benefits for breathing while you sleep.
Is mouth taping safe for kids? Yes, just make sure they can easily open their mouths if they need to. Mouth taping is not recommended for very young children or babies. If you want to learn about mouth breathing in kids, check out this blog by myofunctional therapist Sarah Hornsby.
Is mouth taping safe for pregnant women? Yes!
Who shouldn’t do mouth taping? If you’re sick or congested or have allergies, a deviated septum, or some kind of blockage that prevents you from fully breathing through your nose, mouth taping isn’t a great idea.
One common culprit of nasal congestion is a dusty bedroom. Try giving your bedroom a deep clean and using an air filter to see how your congestion improves. If that doesn’t help, you may want to work with a practitioner to find the root cause of what’s preventing you from nose breathing.
- MedVance Silicone Tape. This is a great lower-cost option for people who want to get started mouth taping. Here’s how to get started:1. Right before bed, cut a tiny piece of tape, maybe a quarter of an inch.2. Place the mouth tape over the center of your lips. Don’t try to cover your entire mouth with tape; just lightly fasten your lips together.
3. That’s it! You’re done!
Note: Here’s a YouTube clip from James Nestor explaining the above steps.
- SomniFix Strips. This tape is specifically designed for mouth taping and has a small breathing vent to alleviate some of the fear and anxiety around taping your mouth while you sleep.SomniFix can easily be applied and removed from your mouth without getting stuck on your lips or facial hair. It’s a fancier option, so it’s more expensive, but it works perfectly.
I’ll admit, when I first heard about mouth taping, I was a little skeptical. But once I learned about the importance of breathing through your nose and the role of nitric oxide in our sleep and overall health, I can totally see what the hype is about.
There’s no timeline for how long you should use mouth tape. The goal is to retrain your body to breathe through your nose, but it’s up to you if you want to experiment for just a couple of weeks or make it a part of your nightly routine for the long term like my wife and I do.
Disclaimer: if you’re interested in mouth taping and want to it a try, make sure to consult with your doctor first, especially if you have any type of sleep disorder.
What did you think of this week’s newsletter? Let me know using the feedback feature below!