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I read a book titled, ‘Breath, The New Science of a Lost Art’ by James Nestor.  I recommend everyone read it, as it has great information and history.

So, why is nose breathing so important? Let us compare mouth and nose breathing first.

Mouth breathing changes the physical body and transforms airways. Inhaling air through your mouth decreases pressure, which causes the tissues in the back of the mouth/throat to become loose and flex inward. This then creates less overall space and makes breathing more difficult.

Take for example seasonal allergies, incidences of sleep apnea and breathing difficulties increase. The nose gets stuffed, people begin to mouth breath, and the airways collapse. When you sleep at night, with your head on the pillow, gravity pulls the soft tissues of the throat and tongue down, closing off airways. Now add mouth breathing to that and it closes off the airway even more.  After a while, you will condition the body to this and you can get snoring and sleep apnea.

On the other hand, nose breathing forces air against the back of your throat and makes the airways wider. This helps make breathing easier. After a while, the tissues become stronger and can stay in this open and wide position.

So, the saying goes, use it or lose it.  Use the muscles and they will become stronger and more ‘toned’, or lose the strength with improper breathing technique.

Research on mouth versus nose breathing has been occurring for decades.  Research has looked into old skulls comparing bone structure, athletes and performance, emphysema, teeth alignment and cavities, snoring, insomnia, scoliosis, even mouth breathing and intelligence, or its effects on oxygen delivery to the pre-frontal cortex. The list goes on and on. It is quite fascinating.

In summary what you need to know is that nose breathing is healthier for you and mouth breathing is bad!

So what can you do to help train yourself to nose breath again?

There is one technique called the ‘taping’ technique.  Obviously, do not tape over your mouth during the day, as I suspect you will need to talk to people.  You can try the taping technique at night to re-train nose breathing.

Take a very small piece of tape, and place it vertical over your lips.  One example uses the image of a, Charlie Chaplin mustache, a bit lower over your mouth.  Any tape can be used, though most suggest the ‘durable cloth’ tape (Eg. Nexcare Durapore).  Do this method right before bed and begin breathing through your nose.  It will be difficult at the beginning, and you may not last longer than 10min before you take the tape off.  This is okay!  You can try again the following night and see how much longer you last.  Over time, weeks to months, you will be able to re-train your breathing and help tone the tissues at the back of your throat. 

Try it out and see how much of a difference it may make for you.  Let us know how it goes!