If You Breathe Through Your Mouth, Read This:May 01, 2023
The High Performance Journal - May 2nd 2023
It's 8:35 am in the morning Pacific time. As I'm writing this I have a piece of black tape stretched across my mouth.
This is not some bondage thing nor am I being held hostage. I'm taping my mouth to improve my health.
Ever since I was a kid I had problems with ADHD, bad teeth, and horrible sleep. I thought all of these things were genetics passed down from my parents.
But one of the main culprits was how I was breathing.
Specifically, I had a habit of breathing through my mouth.
Why is mouth breathing so bad?
Mouth breathing has been correlated with:
- Allergic reactions
- Sleep disorders
- Facial disfiguration
- Chronic fatigue
- Sleep apnea
- Decreased brain activity
Researchers from the Department of Health Sciences at the University of Korea found did a study on mouth breathing and found that people who breathed through their mouth had decreased function in their brains.
"Oral breathing is an inappropriate method for intellectual activity...Changing various habits related to oral breathing is important for cognitive function...Prolonged oral breathing could significantly induce impaired cognitive function."
It's been shown that around 50-60% of people in first-world countries are mouth breathers.
When you breathe through the mouth you have a 42% greater chance of moisture loss. Mouth breathing also puts you in what we call a "sympathetic state", which is fight or flight mode.
If you breathe through your mouth when you sleep it not only dries out your mouth but it also dries out the upper airways and increases your vulnerability to inflammation, which can lead to more shallow chest breathing and disrupted sleep.
Lastly, you're breathing in unfiltered air, which can cause allergies and asthma in some people.
Mouth breathing is a hidden handicap that affects people in ways they don't even recognize. Let's fix that.
How should you breathe instead?
The mouth was meant for eating and talking. The nose was meant for breathing.
Breathing through your nose is optimal for your health, decreases stress, improves your performance and can make you a better human being.
Your nose was built for one specific purpose: To support your respiratory system.
The nostrils, hair and nasal passageways were designed to filter allergens and foreign bodies from entering your body. They also add moisture and warm to inhaled air to make for smoother entry into the lungs.
Benefits of Nose Breathing include:
- Slows down your breathing
- Increases oxygen uptake & circulation
- Improves lung capacity
- Aids your immune system
- Improves your sleep
- Strengthens your diaphragm
- Increases airflow to your arteries, veins, and nerves
- Lowers your risk of snoring and sleep apnea
Nasal breathing also has another important advantage: It improves your physical performance through the release of nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide is a molecule that plays an essential role in increasing circulation and delivering oxygen into cells. Immune function, weight, circulation, mood, and sexual function can all be heavily influenced by the amount of nitric oxide in the body.
Nasal breathing alone can boost nitric oxide by up to 6x, which is one of the reasons we can absorb about 18 percent more oxygen than by just breathing through the mouth.
Here's some feedback from one of our high performance clients who started nose breathing. This stuff works but you have to work it:
Improve Your Performance Through Nasal Breathing
So you breathe through your mouth? What can you do about it?
The good (and bad) thing about nose breathing is that it's a "use it or lose it" scenario. The more you use it the more it'll work for you. The less you use it the more you'll breathe through your mouth.
So what should you do?
Start with awareness. Every time you find yourself breathing through your mouth consciously bring yourself back to nasal breathing.
Set alarms on your phone throughout your day to check in and remind yourself to use your nostrils.
Lastly, there is always the option of taping your mouth.
Back in April of 2022 I started to tape my mouth at night and found it to significantly improve the quality of my sleep but some people might be opposed to doing such a thing and I don't blame them.
Start by taping your mouth during the day when you're at your desk doing work or doing exercise. This is a safe way to test out mouth taping because you're still awake. This forces your nose to start breathing.
The type of tape I recommend getting is either hostage tape (I know, horrible name) or 3M non allergenic tape from amazon.
NOTE: IF you have obstructions that prevent you from nasal breathing (ie. deviated septum etc..) go and seek help with a nose specialist.
Time to start breathing right
One of the simplest ways to improve your life is to start breathing through your nose.
When you start nasal breathing make sure to be patient with yourself. You will forget and revert back to mouth breathing. That's okay.
Remember we're playing the long game here. Change takes time. The main idea is to be patient with yourself and not quit.
This is one of the more important emails I have changed my life by switching from being a mouth breather to a nose breather and if you breathe through your mouth it might help you too.
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