Mouth taping – you’ve likely either heard of it, swear by it or are a little weirded out by the sound of it. As odd as mouth taping may sound (and yes, it literally means placing a small piece of tape over your mouth during sleeping hours to force nasal breathing), it’s gaining popularity and buzz for a reason.
Our bodies are designed for nasal breathing.
Curious? Read on for all you need to know about what mouth taping is, the mouth taping benefits you can expect, plus the science, studies and anecdotal benefits behind the trend.
Better Sleep? Yes, Please!
Did someone say breathwork and deep sleep? Practice Chandra Bhedana (Moon Piercing) Pranayama (breathwork), to activate the Parasympathetic Nervous System and bring you into a calm and restful state. Practice this class from YA Classes before bed and combine with mouth taping to support deep, restful sleep. Sweet dreams!
What Is Mouth Taping, Exactly?
Many of us default to breathing through an open mouth when we drift off to sleep. Mouth taping, via the use of a small piece of porous tape, keeps the lips closed overnight and forces nasal breathing, which is linked to a host of health benefits throughout the body, as we’ll explore.
An excellent resource to explore the topic at length if this speaks to you (and the book that thrust mouth taping into the spotlight, so to speak, is Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor.
Nestor brings readers along for a deep dive into the anatomical and evolutionary reasons so many of us mouth breathe, how cultures around the world approach nasal breathing, and his own personal health journey from it.
Want the science behind how deep breathing can positively impact your life? Read: Take a Deep Breath to Transform Your Overall Health (Here’s the Science Behind How It Works!)
What Are the Benefits of Mouth Taping?
Yoga practitioners don’t need telling how much conscious breathwork can be life changing, but it’s harder to control when we’re deep asleep or just not paying attention to our breath. But pay attention we should, as the benefits of nasal breathing – that is, inhaling and exhaling through the nostrils instead of sucking in air through the mouth, are numerous.
Studies have shown regular mouth breathing can contribute to poor dental health or sleep apnea. And additional anecdotal evidence suggests mouth breathing can even increase anxiety, depression, raise blood pressure and more, though more studies are needed to conclusively make these links.
This is all because our bodies are designed for nasal breathing – as our noses contain filtering mechanisms designed to naturally optimize the humidity and temp of the air we inhale and catch pollutants before the air reaches our sensitive lung tissue.
Nose breathing benefits include not just the quality of the air we’re taking, but it also sets us up to be fully oxygenated at an optimal rate for peak cognitive function. On the flip side, mouth breathing has been linked to daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
Looking for more deep breathing goodness? Get started with Pranayama Explained + 5 Techniques to Get You Started
Another payoff of mouth taping is a reduction of waking up with the trademark dry mouth, sore throat or “morning breath” that many “mouth breathers” experience. Beyond just the icky feeling, mouth breathing overnight lowers the pH of our mouths, creating a breeding ground for bacteria and cavities.
Another benefit of mouth taping? It might keep you from snoring! A study done on those with mild sleep apnea found that mouth taping improved the angle of the tongue and soft palate of the mouth, resulting in less snoring (meaning a more restful night for you and those around you). More research is needed, but if you struggle with this, mouth taping might be worth a try.
Here’s How To Start
Though the benefits of mouth taping can be numerous, it’s not ideal for everyone, including those with certain sleep disorders, nasal congestion, sinus issues or heavy facial hair – in which case mouth taping could be uncomfortable or impossible.
As always, if you’re unsure about mouth taping as a personal practice, consult with your doctor or trusted medical professional.
If you’ve got the green light to give it a go though, first you’ll need some specialty mouth tape – (inexpensive and easy to find on Amazon or elsewhere.) The tape is designed in an X shape and made of a lightweight material that stays in place but is completely painless to remove.
Simply place over your mouth in a way that’s comfortable but keeps your lips firmly together before falling asleep and remove when you wake up. Don’t be surprised if for the first few nights, mouth taping might take some getting used to, but like all things, you’ll adjust in time.
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My Personal Experience With Mouth Taping: The Takeaway
Speaking from personal experience, it took around three nights until I was able to sleep through the night without removing the tape. Once I relaxed into the at-first strange new sensation of nasal breathing all night, it became a game-changer.
Three years into my journey, I never miss a night without mouth taping. I noticed I was sleeping deeper and waking up without a dry mouth, sore throat, or the morning congestion that used to be commonplace.
I’ve even noticed my teeth gradually straightening and my bite alignment improving over the years (mouth breathing has well known links to crooked teeth and poor dental results, as well as craniofacial development from the time we’re children.)
So, would you give mouth taping a go? If you’ve done your research and it’s right for you, the benefits can be incredibly positive – even life-changing – and all happen literally while you sleep.
All included information is not intended to treat or diagnose. Always consult your healthcare provider for medical questions and before beginning or changing any dietary, supplementation, and exercise regimen.