How to Mouth Tape for Better Sleep
Article by Lucas Rockwood
Incorrect way to mouth-tape
If you snore or struggle with sleep disorders, mouth taping can be a simple way to improve your nighttime breathing. While it might sound dangerous, it’s actually a safe, simple practice anyone can try. This technique originated with Ukrainian medical doctor, Konstantin Buteyko, in the 1950s and involves placing a strip of medical tape in front of your lips to encourage nasal breathing.
Mouth breathing at night is common and can lead to dental problems, stomach problems, hormonal imbalances, and very poor sleep quality. Nasal breathing is the ideal way to breathe. It helps maintain healthy levels of CO2 in the body which can improve sleep quality and reduce disordered breathing.
Nose vs. Mouth Breathing
Your nose is for breathing and your mouth is for eating, exercise, and talking. Mouth breathing during sleep can be a sign of serious breathing problems, but often it’s a simple issue that can be corrected naturally at home.
Mouth breathing risks:
- Dental problems
- Post-nasal drip
- Increased blood pressure
- Poor/low quality sleep
Benefits of nose breathing:
- Temperature and humidity control
- Increased CO2 and normalized breath rate
- Increased oxygen absorption
- Nitric Oxide release
- Reduced blood pressure
Mouth Taping and Alternatives
Purchase a roll of bandage tape at the pharmacy. Cut off a small piece and tape your top and lower lip together with a single strip at the front, like a thin mustache.
Inexpensive chin straps hold your jaw shut and are available online. They are often more comfortable and practical as an alternative to tape.
Breathe Right® Strips
These butterfly strips sit over the bridge of your nose to help keep your airways open. They are especially helpful for people with smaller noses which may easily get blocked during sleep.
Clear Your Sinuses
Whichever method you try, make sure that you thoroughly clean your sinuses before going to bed. After you brush your teeth, clean out your nose – either with a nasal flush using a neti pot, an aerosol spray, or with a controlled breathing technique like this one below. It acts as a natural bronchodilator, opening up your breathing passageways to allow more C02 into your lungs without changing your blood oxygen.
- Take three gentle, natural breaths
- At the bottom of the third breath, close your nose and hold your breath for 10 to 20 seconds – stop as soon as you feel the slightest breath hunger
- Repeat four times
- Tape your mouth, put on your chin strap or breathing strip
- Go to bed and enjoy improved sleep
Breathing problems can be serious, even life-threatening. If you have severe asthma or suspect you may have sleep apnea or other serious respiratory challenges, please see a doctor.
Want to Learn More?
- 21-Day Yoga Breathing Challenge (on-demand)
- YOGABODY YouTube Channel (free to subscribe)
- The Lucas Rockwood Show Podcast