So . . . you want to keep your mouth shut. Obviously, you are NOT a politician. Congratulations. Mouth breathing versus nasal breathing was discussed in the article, Mouth Taping to Enhance Nasal Breathing and Nitric Oxide. Here we will discuss simply “How to”.
The goal is to encourage nasal breathing throughout the sleep cycle. The first objective is to practice nasal breathing during the day, sitting at your desk, while driving or even while exercising. As you become comfortable with nasal breathing and humming (see the previous article) your airways will begin to change and the bones will shift to accommodate a more open airway. This will improve sleep, reduce snoring, and much more.
Nighttime taping is quite simple. There are a number of options:
- Medical tape – typically this is a 3M product such as Micropore or Durapore, 1-inch tape roll. Easily found at your local pharmacy. I like to fold over one end to create a “tab” for easier removal. An entire roll of tape is about $1.50.
- Paper tape is another medical grade tape that you may prefer if you have a sensitivity to plastic tapes.
- SomniFix is a product specifically made in the shape of your lips. Some people prefer the adhesive of this product. Given its more anatomical shape and design it works well for men with facial hair. This product cost roughly 75 cents per single-use tape.
- Sleep Strips are another product specifically made for mouth taping. Not as desirable for those with facial hair. Some prefer its “X” design and adhesive.
- Duct tape is NOT an option. Use a medical-grade tape to avoid skin irritation.
You can tape your lips together with a single piece of vertical tape that runs from nose to chin or more commonly a horizontal piece that covers all of the lips. Simply relax the lips into a closed but natural position and apply the tape. If anxious about how this will feel then practice taping during the day first until you get accustomed to the feel. Remember though you will be sleeping when you do this at night so any nuisance factor will be removed by slumber.
If you use a CPAP or dental appliance, then the need to mouth tape is even greater. These devices are NOT a contraindication to mouth taping.
In the morning you may experience a little adhesive residue around your lips. This easily washes off but if this creates irritation then try a different tape until you find one you like.
In a very short period of time you may notice that the depth of your sleep feels better and your partner will let you know that snoring has decreased. Over time greater benefits will arise as your airway changes in accordance with your new open nasal airway.