Sunday, November 5, 2017

Shut your piehole and stop snoring -- a.k.a. why mouth-taping may be the key to better sleep and better health

"Don't get me wrong. He's a nice guy. I like him just fine. But he's a mouth breather."
--The Jesus Lizard ("Mouth Breather")

You've probably been told that it's much better to breathe through your nose than your mouth. But why? Aesthetics? Well, yeah, but that's not why.

Nitric oxide! A large chunk of your body's production of nitric oxide is triggered by nasal breathing. You inhale into the parasinuses, and nitric oxide is produced there through a chemical reaction (the details of which are waaaaay beyond my pay scale, but see more about it here). Mouth breathing doesn't just produce less nitric oxide than nasal breathing. It produces none.

Why should you care? Because proper levels of nitric oxide are critical to a whole host of metabolic processes: digestion, testosterone production, blood-pressure control, better sleep, better brain function, and the like.

So let's assume that you've got the nasal-breathing thing going pretty well when you are wide awake. Yer sizable maw isn't agape on a regular basis.

But then you lie down to go to sleep....

And your mouth drops open like you have a rock attached to your lower jaw.

You start snoring.

Your significant other starts complaining.

But it's not so bad that you ever head for a CPAP machine.

"I could breathe through my nose just fine when I sleep, if my mouth didn't immediately open when I nod off," you say to your health-conscious bad self. You might even say that to the person that's complaining about your snoring.

Let's examine these facts for a moment:

1. You are only snoring when your mouth is open.
2. If your mouth were not open, you would not snore.
3. If you were breathing through your nose, you would be getting seven to nine hours of additional nitric-oxide production.
4. If you were breathing through your nose, your main squeeze would stop considering asking you to sleep in another room.
5. Seriously, dude, you need to shut your mouth while you are sleeping. Better blood pressure. Better health in all regards. Better everything.

If only there were a way to close that thing up and force you to breathe through your nose.

There is: tape it shut.

I'm dead serious.

It's not my idea. If you were to Google this (admittedly odd) practice, you'd find all sorts of people have given it a shot. You'd find there are a variety of specially-made tapes to do the job.

There's a reason for that second part. The first time I tried mouth-taping, I slept like a rock, breathed through my nose all night, and my wife complimented me on my snoreless slumber. I also woke up with gross adhesive all over my mouth. That's because I used duct tape.

Pro tip: Don't use duct tape.

Second pro tip: Don't use painter's tape either. (I did this too for you, so you don't have to).

Buy an actual brand of sleep tape made to do the job without leaving you feeling like you've been huffing adhesive all night. (Seriously, that can't be good for you, can it?). I use this one. But Google the phrase "sleep tape" and a bunch of products come up for your perusal.

The verdict: IT'S INCREDIBLE!! Really.

I'm not snoring at all (says my wife, and she'd know). I am waking up a lot better rested.

Those two benefits alone are spectacular.

And yeah, it's a little weird at first.

Now, let's take a small time-out to say that if you actually have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, or you can't breathe through your nose because of a deviated septum or from a round or two in the ring with the world champ, or whatever, then check this whole mouth-taping "fix" out with your doc first, but I can't find anything negative about it on the web -- other than comments about its weirdness. Indeed, it seems to me that it could be a seriously cheap fix to a whole lot of bedrooms that are noisy for all the wrong reasons.

I love it. My wife loves it. That's all that matters here.

Your mileage may vary, and you'll hate this idea. Or, it may not, and I may have just changed your life. It's your call whether you decide to find out.