I hope your week is going well.
This week’s Weekly Dose of Mental Sunshine may seem a little odd to you.
But bear with me!
This week I’m suggesting you try taping your mouth when you go to bed.
Yes, I know you’ve probably just imagined a scene from a movie, our hero held captive with a huge piece of duct tape over their mouth…
That’s not what I mean.
Human beings are meant to breathe through our noses, not our mouths…
Our nose and sinus cavity are specifically designed to process air in ways your mouth can’t…
But if you start paying attention to your breathing, you’ll soon see how often you end up mouth breathing.
We can all make a conscious effort to close our mouths and breathe while we’re awake –
But what about when we’re asleep?
You only need a tiny piece of tape. Smaller than a postage stamp.
And not duct tape! Use micropore tape – like you’d use for a dressing a wound.
The idea is that if you really needed to open your mouth, you could easily do it without a problem – but otherwise, it keeps your mouth closed.
Mouth taping has become pretty popular on social media lately.
I first came across the idea when I read Breath by James Nestor so I thought I’d give it a go, and, over a month later, I’m still taping my mouth every evening.
Many people say that mouth taping helps them to sleep more soundly –
This is because breathing through the nose rather than the mouth can help to lower blood pressure and move the nervous system into “rest and digest” mode.
For me, some of the benefits include my teeth and gums feeling healthier, my mouth doesn’t feel dry in the mornings – so I don’t get that “morning breath” – and funnily enough, no more middle of the night trips to the toilet which is something to do with the pituitary glad being kept moist!
As well as this I’m aware of a more slow and gentle rate of breathing in general, which helps me to feel more relaxed.
And my nose feels clearer too.
This is one of those things that definitely falls into the category of “don’t knock it til you’ve tried it” – it sounds bonkers, and probably looks it too (but it’s dark so who’s going to see…?)
But it’s free and so easy, and if it helps you to get a good night’s sleep, what do you have to lose?
Another one of James’ breathing exercises is to breathe at a rate of 5.5 seconds to breathe in and 5.5 seconds to breathe out.
This is one that you can easily try the next time you are sat at a red traffic light, waiting in a queue or stuck in a traffic jam…
I’d love to hear if you try these tips
And be sure to let me know how you get on!