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Nightmares, sleep apnea, and brain fog all have one thing in common...

Why mouth breathing is killing your sleep scores

The risks of mouth breathing related sleep apnea

Everyone knows that sleep apnea can hinder a good night's sleep, but not many people are aware of the biggest cause. Mouth breathing during sleep raises a host of medical concerns, ranging from slightly annoying, to chronically detrimental. Some of the apnea-related mouth breathing problems include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Brain fog (cognitive dysfunction)

  • Increase in the likelihood of cardiovascular events

  • Increase in the likelihood of stroke

  • Sexual dysfunction in both males and females

  • Can exacerbate the symptoms of dementia

  • Can change the facial structure including a recession of the chin, and rounding of the jaw.

So, that's a pretty grim list of potential side effects from something that just seems like a slight inconvenience from afar, however, these detrimental effects are well documented and understood among the medical community, including sleep specialists.

Mouth breathing can be a particularly difficult problem to identify, as most people only realise they were mouth breathing the night before, if they wake up with a dry or sore throat the next morning, or if a disgruntled partner decides to tell them they were snoring like a donkey all night and they couldn't get any sleep.

Along with the list of concerning risk factors above, apnea is also known by sleep specialists to massively increase the likelihood of experiencing nightmares, or even severe cases of "night terrors", sleep paralysis and more. The cause of sleep apnea's host of poor medical outcomes is due to the lack of oxygen experienced in the brain during sleep. It's likely that the lack of oxygen triggers a stress response in the body, meaning your brain is not able to rest and enter a para-sympathetic state, manifesting in mental disturbances like nightmares and sleep paralysis.

Mouth taping

Mouth taping, although sounding like a panic-inducing experience, can provide an effective remedy in most cases. Mouth taping trains you to breathe nasally during sleep. Positive outcomes include deeper sleep, greater oral hygiene and waking up feeling rested, along with avoiding the list of freaky health conditions above and having your facial structure slowly start to resemble Mr. Burns...

Mouth taping has blown up recently due to its ability to train people to breathe correctly during sleep and not cost as much as traditional treatments. Although it is not a treatment for severe cases of sleep apnea, it can absolutely increase the efficacy of a CPAP machine by eliminating the chance of snoring and ensuring air isn't escaping through your mouth.

"But won't the adhesive stick to my mouth and cause irritation?" Yes, if you use traditional tape found in your home it absolutely will. Fortunately though, companies like Recovery Mate in Australia now make mouth tape specifically designed for sleep and exercise. They use a medical grade adhesive that is mouth-friendly and won't cause irritation, or the need to rip all your facial hairs out each morning.

Recovery Mate Mouth Tape

Sinus issues

If you're like me, and you have issues with your sinus that mean you aren't always able to breathe consistently through your nose, you may want to consider getting some nasal strips. Nasal strips simply apply over the bridge of your nose, and work by opening your nasal passage to allow easier breathing. Nozey, another Aussie company makes the best nose strip I have found, it has more coverage than most other strips out there. Pair a nose strip with the Recovery Mate mouth tape, and your chances of having a restful night's sleep are vastly increased.

Nozey Night Strips

Nasal breathing during sleep allows your heart rate to drop lower than if you were mouth breathing, assisting your body to go through its natural detoxification and repairs while you rest, while also decreasing sleep latency (how long it takes you to fall asleep) and improving your time in deep sleep.

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