Breathe through your nose at night—> tape your mouth
Of all the things I’ve tried, taping my mouth at night has had the greatest positive impact on my health. I would argue that this entire website and all of my research is the result of the energy I gained from taping at night. Of course, not everyone will respond in the same way I did. But, taping requires very little effort for the health benefits it provides. Therefore, I believe Principle 2 is not only the easiest, but the most important of them all.
As described in Principle 1, there are many benefits of breathing through your nose. The nose warms and humidifies the incoming air, improves gas exchange in the lungs, naturally activates the diaphragm, and slows down your breath so that the optimal amount of oxygen can be absorbed. Slowing the breath also helps us shift from a sympathetic state to a parasympathetic state. This is especially important for diabetics who exhibit less parasympathetic tone at night than non-diabetics. Taping our mouth helps us increase parasympathetic tone and enjoy better sleep.
“Therefore, the diabetic subjects examined have a loss of the parasympathetic tone during nighttime and hence a marked prevalence in sympathetic tone both during day and night without day-night changes in sympathovagal balance.” - Bernardi et al. (1992)
Receptors in your nose also act to maintain rhythmic breathing during sleep, which may help explain why nose breathing reduces the risk of obstructive sleep apnea. Yes, it sounds, and definitely looks ridiculous to tape your mouth shut at night! But, taping will result in deeper sleep, more energy and focus during the day, less snoring, and will reduce dry mouth and bad breath in the morning. You might also see dramatic improvements in your morning blood sugars (like I did) from this one simple change. Try it for a few nights and see how you feel!
“While asleep, shut your mouth and save your brain.” - Sleep (1983)
Practice Principle 2
I started using generic paper tape I purchased from the local pharmacy, then moved to 3M micropore tape that I bought on Amazon. Now, I use Lipsealtape because it does not dry out my lips and is easy to remove in the morning. If you are nervous about taping, try it out during the day so you can see how it feels.
WARNING: Don’t tape your mouth shut if you’re sick, after drinking alcohol, if you are taking sedative medications, if you have difficulty using the tape during the day, or if you have difficulty with breathing through your nose in general (consult your physician in that case).
Finally, in the beginning you’ll probably notice that the tape does not stay on the entire night. This is normal. As you get used to nasal breathing at night, the tape will gradually stay on longer and longer, until you eventually keep it on all night.