Imagine if there were a simple, inexpensive, perfectly safe thing you could do that would improve your energy, skin health, mood, and digestion, reduce brain fog and even help combat bad breath. It almost sounds too good to be true.
And those are just a few of the purported benefits of mouth taping; a simple life hack used to encourage nasal breathing by placing a small piece of tape over your lips to keep them shut while you sleep. The logic here is that many people chronically mouth breathe, which is a less efficient and less effective way of breathing. So if you can encourage your body to shift away from mouth breathing while in bed, you could set yourself up for a much better night of sleep.
Breathing in through your nose warms, humidifies, and filters the air. That warm, moist, filtered air does a better job activating the lower lungs, which leads to deeper, fuller breaths. This allows your body to relax, promoting higher-quality sleep and all of the associated health benefits that result from your body getting more rest.
Now, before you start wrapping your face in duct tape like a hostage from an action movie, let’s dive into the most recent research and what it says about nasal breathing and, more specifically, mouth tapping. Can how you breathe really have such a significant impact on your health?
Yes and no.
The benefits of nasal breathing are well-researched and documented, but the science on mouth taping, more specifically, is still thin. It is indeed less likely for certain microbes or allergens to enter our bodies when we nasal breathe. There have also been studies that have shown improvements in mental cognition associated with nasal breathing as well as gains in athletic performance.
However, mouth taping has yet to be extensively studied. Some small studies had shown improvements among people suffering from sleep apnea when they tried mouth taping, but there is still very little evidence that the practice could benefit people in general.
Probably best to skip the mouth taping if your other nighttime routines still lack consistency
Of course, the lack of research hasn’t stopped mouth-taping from going viral on TikTok. The good news is that it is still relatively safe for most people to try, even if the science to back up all these health claims isn’t quite there yet.
Experts think it is important to point out that you should skip this hack if you struggle to breathe through your nose or can hear yourself when you attempt to nasal breathe. It should go without saying, but you aren’t exactly going to get the best quality of sleep if you can’t breathe at all.
It is also important that you use the right tape if you are thinking of trying mouth-taping. Duct tape is a great prop in kidnapping movies, but for mouth taping, you want to use something that is skin safe, like surgical tape. The tape you use should be able to come off effortlessly, with very little tension or resistance.
The key takeaway? Just because it is trending on TikTok does not mean there is bulletproof science to back it up. Mouth taping might be getting a lot of buzz on social media, but the jury is still out on whether this sleep hack can actually help you get better sleep.
If you are going to try it, make sure you use the right tape and give it a shot during the day before you start using it at bedtime. Allow your body to acclimate to nasal breathing only when you are awake, and if everything checks out and feels ok, then you could try it at night and see how it impacts your sleep.
But if you are still using wine to wind down in the evenings and scrolling on your phone right before bedtime, you might just be putting the cart before the horse on how you are going about getting better sleep.
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