How to Breathe Through the Nose Instead of The Mouth?
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If you learn how to breathe through the nose instead of the mouth, you’ll solve the problems with your sleep. There would be no more snoring or waking up in the middle of the night. Breathing through your nose is also better for your general health. It’s not easy to change your breathing habits but it’s not impossible. We researched this topic a lot and now we’re ready to give you some useful information and advice!
Sometimes all you need are simple exercises. Before we get in-depth about this topic, try this deep breathing exercise:
- Inhale and exhale consciously through the nose.
- Hold your breath and start walking.
- Resume nose breathing.
- Wait a couple of minutes then try to hold your breath another time.
- Repeat this 2-3 times.
Benefits of nose breathing
Before we get to tips and advice about how to become a nose breather, let’s remind ourselves of the health benefits of proper breathing. It’s not just a matter of mouth breathing vs nose breathing because getting air through your mouth doesn’t have any advantages at all. On the other hand, breathing through the nose has a lot of benefits, so let’s mention the most common ones.
The nose is the first line of defense against infections. Microscopic hairs inside your nose trap a lot of viruses and bacteria. Besides this, the nose humidifies and warms the air which also reduces the risk of colds. If you forget about your nose and breath through the mouth, bacteria can freely enter the body.
Better blood flow
Nasal breathing brings oxygen into the deepest lobes of the lungs. This will improve overall lung volume and stimulating the lungs, naturally, will boost blood flow and circulation. The organs and the muscles will get necessary amounts of oxygen faster and they will also be protected from damage.
During exercise, you must get oxygen to active tissues faster, so you can increase endurance and strength. This can only be done with nasal breathing because if you breathe through the mouth, you will experience shortness of breath and hyperventilation. You won’t be able to get rid of carbon-dioxide and get fresh air. All fitness instructors suggest nose breathing because you can get more air while also keeping a steady breathing pace.
Why do people breathe through the mouth?
To stop breathing through your mouth, you need to determine the reasons why you do it in the first place. The cause of mouth breathing might be physical. For example a blockage in your nose. In this case, you would need help from a doctor. However, mouth breathing can just be a bad habit that you can break by yourself. Only after you find out the exact cause, you can start working on solving the problem.
You can determine the cause with the process of elimination. Check all physical possibilities for your condition, and if there aren’t any, all you’re left with is habitual behavior. Start with focusing on nose breathing for two minutes. Close your mouth, so you can breathe through the nose.
If you’re having issues with this, the reason why you switch to mouth breathing is physical. You need to investigate it further with the help of the doctor. If you haven’t got troubles with this exercise, then your mouth breathing is a habit that can be fixed with a little effort.
Having a cold or reacting to allergens around you can be the cause of a clogged nose. Visit your doctor and tell him/her that your nose is constantly stuffed. Ask your doctor for an allergy test and physical examination (jaw position, possible nose deviations). If your primary doctor can’t find the cause, ask to see a specialist.
An ear, nose, and throat specialist can double-check the possible causes such as oversized tonsils, blockage of the sinuses, etc. If the specialist can’t find physical causes of your mouth breathing, then the cause is most likely psychological. Then, start working on changing the habit by taking small steps.
Start to practice the nose breathing
If you want to know how to stop being a mouth breather, you need to start practicing as soon as possible. Forming a new habit is all about practice. Start training yourself to nose breathe whenever you can, because everything you do while you’re awake reflects onto your sleep. When you constantly breathe through the nose, your brain will get “used to it” and you won’t have any trouble breathing through your nose at night.
Perform nose breathing exercises. Breathe through your nose only for 2-3 minutes and after that, try deep breathing. When you’re taking deep breaths, focus on your stomach. Place one hand on your belly and as you breathe in you should feel your belly rise. You can hold in your breath for 5 seconds and then exhale. Repeat this a couple of times until you feel relaxed. This exercise doesn’t require much time, so you should do it more than 10 times a day.
Also, check out local yoga classes. Doing yoga is hugely helpful for breathing problems. If you get trained by a professional, you’ll learn all the techniques for proper breathing. It’s not all about “inhale through nose exhale through the mouth”. You need to focus on yourself and be present in the moment. Fill your head with calming thoughts and focus on your body posture. Listen to your instructor’s advice and you won’t have any trouble with nose breathing.
To successfully break the habit, you need to correct unwanted behavior. When you notice you’re using your mouth to breathe, immediately switch to nasal breathing. Also if you don’t know how to keep your mouth closed while sleeping, try getting a chin strap. You can wear it all the time at home, so you can be sure you’re not breathing through the mouth.
Another good idea is using sticky notes as reminders to breathe through the nose. You can place them on your computer, inside the books, on the fridge, etc. When you see the sticky note labeled “nose breathing”, take a couple of minutes to focus on breathing through the nose. Then continue with your day.
Remove environment obstacles
Sometimes our environment has a huge influence. Staying in a clean house can help improve your breathing habits. You might have switched to mouth breathing because you were lacking “fresh air”. You should clean your carpets and sheets every week to get rid of dust. Opening your windows as soon as you wake up will also help. Stand by the window and take a couple of deep breaths. You’ll definitely feel refreshed and rested.
Reduce the stress
When you’re stressed, your breathing tends to be faster, so you’re more likely to use the mouth for getting air. If you can’t find a way to cut stress out of your life, learn how to cope with it. Try seeing a therapist, exercising, using scented candles, journaling, or doing anything else that helps you relax. You’ll notice improvements with your breathing as soon as you find proper ways to vent.
We said that breathing through the nose makes exercise easier. Opposite also applies! When you exercise regularly, you will increase your need for deep breaths. You’ll feel more rested when you’re breathing through your nose, so you’ll start doing it more.
Sometimes people need extra help with forming habits (whether those are waking up early, exercising, or nasal breathing). Don’t hesitate to ask for help and see a therapist if you realize that you can’t change your habit that easily.
Accountability plays a huge part in forming habits. That’s why a lot of people start exercising with a friend. They need to be accountable to someone, so they can stick to a routine. The same thing applies to therapy. You’ll get proper advice and counseling, but you’ll also have someone you’re accountable to, so you’re more likely to put in serious effort in changing the habit.
You might not be able to control your actions during sleep but there are some things you can do before getting to bed. We have some tips to help you train yourself to sleep with your mouth closed but first, you need to learn how to stop thinking while sleeping. Often we have trouble with breathing when a lot of racing thoughts are bothering us. That’s why you need to create a comfortable and relaxing sleeping environment.
When people advise you on how to stop breathing through the mouth while sleeping, they usually put the focus on sleep positions. Breathing through the mouth and snoring usually happens when you’re sleeping on your back. Try sleeping on your side or your stomach, so breathing becomes easier. If you can’t fall asleep like that and need to sleep on your back, try elevating your head and upper back with pillows.
If you don’t have any physical condition, you can try using a mouth strap or putting a piece of tape over your mouth while sleeping. This might help you keep your mouth shut, so you can breathe through the nose. Just make sure that the strap or the tape aren’t too tight. You can also try using a nose strip. It can help you clear your nasal passages, so you can breathe through the nose while sleeping.
Think before having a surgery
Think very carefully before having surgery. Your problem might be solved with just changing life habits, so try to open your nasal passages without surgery first. In case your mouth breathing isn’t habitual, consult with several doctors, and give yourself enough time to make an informed decision.
Frequently asked questions
Why is it better to breathe through your nose than your mouth?
Breathing through your nose is better because the nose adds moisture and warmth to inhaled air. The air will enter smoothly to the lungs and more oxygen will get to active tissues. You’re also more protected from infections if you breathe through the nose. That’s because microscopic hairs inside your nose trap a lot of viruses and bacteria.
Why is mouth breathing bad?
When you’re breathing through the mouth you’re not getting all the needed oxygen, which can lead to fatigue. Mouth-breathing can also dry the oral cavity and lead to bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay.
Can you learn to breathe through your nose?
If you don’t have any physical problems such as allergies, enlarged tonsils, deviated septum, and other conditions that prevent nasal breathing, you can learn how to breathe through the nose. You just need to break the habit of mouth breathing and form a new, healthier habit. You’ll need a lot of practice though.
How do I stop breathing through my mouth?
Start with practicing nasal breathing. Pay more attention to your breathing, so you notice when you’re breathing through the mouth. Change unwanted behavior when you notice it. Make sure you have enough fresh air in your house and reduce the stress as much as possible.
Hopefully, now you have a clearer picture of how to breathe through the nose instead of the mouth. It isn’t easy to find a solution to this complex problem, so take one step at the time. Remember to always ask for professional help when you need it. Doctors know more than we do, so you can get better advice for your particular problem by scheduling an appointment.
As we already mentioned, your mouth breathing and snoring might have other causes. Try changing your sleeping habits. Maybe you can stop going to bed late at night and waking up early?
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