How James Nestor's book Breath inspired me to start mouth-taping, and how it's helped my sleep and health
So interesting. As someone who clenches their teeth while they sleep, I also wear a night guard but I find it hard to even close my lips around it (it feels so big). Have you experienced that? Also, what is the proper “at rest” tongue placement? lol
I got here because of seeing you post about this on Instagram - it’s so rare to see it actually get mentioned. Thank you!
I read Breathe by James Nestor almost 3 years ago and, after dealing with asthma my whole life, it blew my mind!
I’ve been into health but always saw breath work as a bit too woo woo for me and I’ve never been told I’m breathing wrong (unfortunately).
All of the info in the book is amazing but yes, nasal breathing is the big thing.
It has made a huge difference in my breathing.
Using mouth tape at night is the next thing that has had a huge impact on my sleep and health.
I’ve had sinus issues and have mouth breathed my whole life but never knew it was an issue.
I first noticed I slept better but I saw the REAL difference when I fell asleep a couple of nights before I could put it on.
When I woke up I didn’t feel anywhere as rested (if you can never seem to feel rested, no matter how much sleep you get, good chance you’re mouth breathing.)
But the biggest difference above being tired was how irritable I was. Noticeably so!!
I can sleep for as little as 4-5 hours and not be irritable - I’ll still be tired since I didn’t get enough but the difference between nose breathing and mouth breathing has been huge!
I’ve told a few people but everyone thinks it sounds way too strange and scary and don’t want to actually try it.
It took me a couple of nights to get used to it but I had also begun really focusing on nose breathing during the day.
I recommend for people to consciously work on nose breathing during the day and then try wearing the mouth tape for a little bit during the day to get used to it.
As with Melissa, I didn’t try it until reading the amazing book so I was sold on the potential benefits. Hearing about it without that knowledge definitely makes it seem like something you can do without and not give a second thought. (Or seem like something that is plain out ridiculous since you’ve been breathing your whole life and never been told to do it any differently!)
Sorry for such a long reply - this has made such a difference for me. It’s great that Melissa is sharing her experience but I can see people’s hesitancy (that’s only the people who commented and not including, most likely, all those that thought the benefits might sound good but no way they’re taping their mouth shut!).
Maybe listen to a podcast with James Nestor to get some background without reading the book (but I recommend the audiobook, if anyone enjoys listening).
One other note: after reading that book twice, I picked up the book he wrote right before Breathe (it actually was part of what led him to that topic).
It’s called “Deep”, and if you are interested in our oceans and learning about what it’s like as you go deeper and deeper, plus Freediving, I more than highly recommended it.
It’s actually one my favorite non-fiction books and I didn’t want it to end!
Plus some incredible information on whales!!
I broke my nose thirteen years ago and lost most of the cartilage that divides the nasal packages, this was my rational for why I was a mouth breather. In October of last year I began doing RomWod/now Pliaibility which is a day mobility practice (yoga/stretch/ish) with breathing practice. I grudgingly started practicing nasal breathing and was shocked when I was able to do it. Now Whoop has incorporated breath work into their app so I have also added that. My resting heart rate has now dropped from the low 50s (50-52) to 45-46, and I'm pretty sure it's primarily from switching from mouth breathing to nasal breathing. I did not know that about the efficiency and was again reminded why I quickly subscribed to your thoughts. I absolutely love hearing what works best for you and why because I am also constantly, subtly adapting my behaviors to get just a tiny bit healthier.
Breath is such a fascinating book! I’ve thought about taping my mouth at night but haven’t done it. I’ll give it a try now! My husband will enjoy the silence while he’s trying to fall asleep. :-). Can you write about how you trained yourself to sleep on your back?
So many people love nasal strips - I have never gotten them to work. Tips? My nose getting stuffy as I sleep is typically when the mouth tape gets ripped off in the past.
So interesting! Not sure I'm ready to dive into the taping but I made sure to nose breathe my whole walk yesterday. Baby steps.
I need to try this so bad, but I give myself nightmares even thinking about it 😭 do you have your son do any nasal breathing work, particularly at night? My 6 year old is a heavy mouth-breather already (he had many tongue and lip ties for his first year of life and they really set him up on the wrong track) but I don’t know how to fix it in him.
Such a great summary! I am very passionate about nasal breathing and tongue posture and the importance of those two things in overall health so it is great to see you speaking on it!
Looking forward to your mouth tape brand recommendation! I tried it a few times (after reading Breath myself) and couldn’t find one I liked well enough. It also freaked my husband out (so I like your suggestion of just before going to sleep 😂) Thanks for sharing!