Explaining the benefits of nasal breathing
Breathing through your nose, also known as nasal breathing, is how humans were designed to inhale and exhale air. Nasal breathing has many health benefits if done regularly and with awareness. It’s better than breathing through your mouth.
In this piece, we’ll explore nose breathing and its advantages for the mind and body.
The Basics of Nose Breathing
Nasal breathing refers to inhaling and exhaling air through the nose rather than the mouth. Many people switch to mouth breathing when exercising intensely or experiencing nasal congestion. But, when workable, breathing through the nose should be the default for most daily activities.
Some key pointers on proper nose breathing technique:
- Inhale slowly and deeply through the nose, allowing the belly to expand.
- Exhale gently through the nose, engaging the diaphragm.
- Aim for a steady, calm breathing rhythm.
- Practice nose breathing during rest, movement, and sleep.
- Use breathwork tools like breath pacing apps if helpful.
Top 5 Benefits of Nose Breathing
From improved respiration to enhanced exercise performance, nose breathing offers numerable bonuses. Here are 5 of the top perks according to research:
1. Filters Air Better
When you breathe in, the hairs and mucus in your nostrils trap dust, allergens, bacteria, and other particles. This humidifies and cleans the air before it reaches the lungs. Mouth breathing bypasses this filtration system.
2. Activates the Diaphragm
Nose breathing activates the diaphragm, allowing for full expansion of the lungs. This promotes proper oxygen exchange and core stability. Shallow mouth breathing fails to use the diaphragm effectively.
3. Regulates Carbon Dioxide Levels
Exhaling through the nose helps keep higher carbon dioxide levels in the lungs. This gas exchange balance is linked to reduced anxiety, fatigue, and hypertension symptoms.
4. Improves Exercise Performance
Studies show that it’s better to breathe through your nose, not your mouth while exercising. Nasal breathing improves endurance movement efficiency and omits comfort. Proper oxygen use plays a key role.
5. Supports Restful Sleep
Nighttime nasal breathing helps regulate sleep cycles and carbon dioxide. This results in higher quality, restorative sleep with fewer interruptions. Mouth breathing is associated with sleep apnea.
The Key Benefits Of Nose Breathing Versus Mouth Breathing During Sleep
Improves sleep quality
Breathing through the nose helps control carbon dioxide levels. This signals the brain to switch between sleep stages. This results in more restorative, uninterrupted sleep. Mouth breathing can lead to restless, fragmented sleep.
Reduces snoring and sleep apnea
Breathing through the nose helps keep the airway open, reducing snoring and sleep apnea. Mouth breathing is associated with an increased risk of sleep-disordered breathing.
Nasal breathing humidifies and filters air, allowing optimal oxygen exchange in the lungs during sleep. Mouth breathing delivers unfiltered air, impairing oxygenation.
Lowers blood pressure
Nose breathing moderates carbon dioxide levels, which helps regulate blood pressure during sleep. This reduces hypertension risk. Mouth breathing can spike blood pressure.
Decreases nasal congestion
Breathing through the nose can help clear nasal passages and reduce congestion. Chronic mouth breathing further dries out nasal passages.
Key Reasons Why Chronic Mouth Breathing Can Be Unhealthy
Bypasses nasal filtration system
When you breathe through your mouth, the natural filtering ability of your nose is not used. It doesn’t filter particles, humidity, or pathogens. This delivers unclean air to the lungs.
Disrupts oxygen/carbon dioxide balance
Breathing through the mouth lowers CO2 in the lungs, causing headaches, fatigue, and trouble focusing.
Promotes improper tongue posture
Open-mouth breathing encourages the tongue to rest too low and back in the mouth. This can affect dental health and structure over time.
Increases risk of dry mouth and halitosis
Breathing through an open mouth can lead to dry mouth as moisture evaporates. This also raises the chance of bad breath.
Impairs exercise performance
Mouth breathing reduces exercise endurance and economy of movement compared to nasal breathing. Oxygen delivery is less efficient.
Triggers or exacerbates sleep apnea
Mouth breathing relaxes the throat muscles, narrowing the airway. This increases snoring and sleep apnea episodes during the night.
May impact facial development
Breathing through the mouth as a child may affect how the face and teeth grow.
When you breathe through your nose, it has many benefits for your respiratory system and health. Consulting a myofunctional therapist can help address chronic mouth breathing.