Do you think there’s a chance you could be mouth breathing?
Mouth breathing seems completely innocuous. Who cares if you snore a little or leave your mouth open, as long as nobody takes a photo, right? But there is a hidden dark side to mouth breathing during sleep, and it can have surprisingly significant consequences.
Research from Stanford University shows that a man who transitioned to mouth breathing for just 10 days experienced a surprising range of negative effects as a result. These included increased blood pressure leading to hypertension, increased heart rate variability and higher resting heart rate, as well as difficulty concentrating. At night, he snored loudly, his oxygen levels dropped, and he even developed sleep apnea.
Who knew such a small change could have such an effect on your health? Mouth breathing has been linked to a wide range of health concerns, but what we’re interested in today is how it could be affecting your sleep.
Let’s break them down.
Sleep apnea is a condition where our body stops breathing in our sleep, waking us up to resume a normal breathing pattern. This leads to repeated interruptions to our sleep through the night. Mouth breathing increases the risk of sleep apnea our nose can become congested as our throat relaxes and closes during sleep, leading to difficulty breathing and a higher risk of developing sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea itself can lead to a host of other disorders, such as memory loss, depression, acid reflux, adult asthma, high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels. Perhaps worst of all, it severely affects our sleep.
Snoring is another common concern arising from mouth breathing. Similar to sleep apnea, snoring occurs when air struggles to travel easily down the airway through the nose or mouth as someone sleeps. Air being forced through an obstructed airway or nasal passage then makes that telltale rattling grumble that gets many partners kicked out of bed and into the spare room.
Snoring can be affected by a range of factors such as gender, weight and age. However, mouth breathing is also linked to this uncomfortable and noisy nighttime phenomenon. It’s important not to dismiss snoring as a nuisance because it can affect the quality of sleep as well as indicate the development of sleep apnea.
Trips to the bathroom
Studies have found that common complications of mouth breathing such as sleep apnea and disordered breathing could even lead to more trips to the bathroom during the night. Waking up in the night due to bladder issues is called nocturia.
Have you found yourself exasperated as you wake up with a full bladder and have to head to the bathroom again? Well, the science says your nocturia could be linked to mouth breathing. While it might seem surprising that the two are connected, the short version of the story is that sleep apnea and disordered breathing can lead to altered hormones that regulate fluid volume in the body. Addressing the sleep apnea has been shown to reduce nocturia, reducing the number of times that people wake up in the night.
General disruption to sleep quality
In addition to causing specific conditions, mouth breathing can also lead to decreased general sleep quality. Good quality sleep can make all the difference for your health. To enjoy these benefits, it’s essential to get enough sleep and for that sleep to be uninterrupted and good quality.
A solid night’s sleep doesn’t just boost your brain power, reduce stress and improve your overall health. Sleeping properly can actually reduce the risk of diseases such as dementia and heart disease.
How Myospots can help
If you believe that you might suffer from mouth breathing, Myospots presents a simple and affordable solution. Myospots are small, flavoured pads that adhere to the roof of your mouth. You can use the pads to guide your tongue as you do tongue exercises to reset the position and strength of your tongue, with the aim of reducing mouth breathing. Learn more about how they work here.
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All information is general in nature and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Your healthcare provider can consult with you to confirm if this advice is right for you.