If you have been biohacking for any amount of time now, you have surely discovered the importance of sleep.
As a human you have a very unique set of sleep requirements. According to Dr. Michael Breus, these unique characteristics can be categorized by an individuals chronotype and their sleep drive or circadian rhythm is cued by a combination of epigenetic factors such as sun light, blue light, food, exercise, hormones and body temperature.
Improving your sleep efficiency is key to improving your deep sleep and regulating your sleep drive (circadian rhythm). Circadian rythms will change or can be disrupted by the season changes, age, stress, schedule, alcohol, food, and how much one is plugged into the matrix. So, where does mouth tape come in and why is it important? (sleep foundation. org - Sleep Drive + The power of when quiz.com)
In this modern era [wo]mans connection to nature and its subtle yet immensely impacting biological cues it provides has affected the respiration rate and the way we even breath. According to James Nestor, author of Breath, The New Science of a Lost Art; a respiration rate increase has taken place in the last 50-75 years and the modern [wo]man is breathing more rapidly and less efficiently than that of our predecessors. According to the Cleveland Clinic the “normal” respiration rate of an adult is 12-20 breaths a minute and an abnormal rate is below 12 and above 25 breaths per minute. I’d argue that above 15 is abnormal and hitting 9-10 BPM is extremely healthy. Why has this shift taken place and how can a simple tool like mouth tape change this and improve your sleep.
What is Mouth Tape?
Mouth tape is a simple yet effective tool to improve your respiration rate and improve your sleep without impacting your wallet. I’ve experimented with all of the products that are out there and have ended up with 3M’s Nexcare gentle paper tape, medium hold. A roll cost me $2.99 plus tax and has lasted for over two months now. I have been mouth taping since the begging of June 2020.
What improvements I saw from mouth taping
With all the things affecting our health and emotional status a great nights sleep can improve your emotional and physical resilience. I’ve tracked my sleep every night for two years until very recently when I removed all tracking devices from my life ( why you should do this is for another topic)! According to my BioStraps data on my last ever recording of July 27th,2020 my deep sleep was 5h 38min, improving on my best ever deep sleep of 3h 14m.
Most interesting thing to me was the change in my BRPM. From an average of 15.2 at the begging of June to an average of 12.8 at the last day in July. According to the Oxygen Advantage, “breath light to breath right”! Disclaimer, as [wo]man we throw a lot of the kitchen sink at our problems so its hard to quantify if the mouth tape alone improved my deep sleep or was it a combination of buteyko breath work and mouth taping but I can tell you that the continued mouth taping and decrease in buteyko exercise and my sleep is still anecdotally amazing!
Tips for proper mouth taping
Proper mouth tape positioning is key for first timers to reduce potential claustrophobic feelings and anxiety. Some of the made for mouth tape sleep aids out there have a piece that covers the entire mouth and has a small slit to allow for restricted mouth breathing but this can still be too much for newcomers.
This is why I have chosen the 3M Nexcare tape, a simple two inch piece taped vertically from the upper lip directly under the nose to the base of the bottom lip works wonderfully. This, method and brand of tape works over facial hair and by taping this way you feel less confined because you may breath from the corners of your mouth. Don’t worry if your tape comes off at night as this is a training tool to help improve breathing quality and function.
Breath Light to Breath Right
Remember you must breath light to breath right! Reduce and eliminate chronic mouth breathing and use techniques like mouth taping to improve nasal breathing, sleep, energy, and performance.
What to do now?
Take a few moments today to really focus on your breathing. It is a s simple as sitting with your eyes closed to see where your breath begins and where it ends. If you notice through out the day you are yawning frequently its a good sign that you are a mouth breather and everything from your sleep to mental performance will and is suffering to some degree. Here are my five tips to improve your nasal breathing and respiratory function.
- Tape your mouth shut at bed time!
- Slow controlled nasal breathing with breath holds to improve your C02 tolerance. For instance inhale for 4 seconds, exhale for 7 seconds and hold for 8 seconds. repeat for 5 minutes
- DO NOT YAWN ever again. Yawning is a nervous system response to off load excess CO2 but most-likely you are actually hyperventilating and not under breathing. If you feel a yawn coming on, close your mouth and quickly exhale through your nostrils and return to controlled nasal breathing.
- O-H-M, yes, Ohm! Ohming will naturally increase the nitric oxide profusion in your paranasal sinus which will aid respiratory efficiency and improve epithelial oxygenation. ie. decreased stuffy noses, improved sports performance, and cancer fighting to name a few things. (buteykoclinic.com/docs/Nasal-Nitric-Oxide.pdf)
- Use a Neti pot before bed to get things cleared up. Winter in the Midwest can be brutally dry, leading to increased mucus production and congestion. A bit of structured water and mineral rich sea salt will loosen mucus and hydrate epithelial tissue helping you sleep tight!
As a bonus tip! You better be blocking blue light and you start here by purchasing a pair or two of stylish blue light blocking glasses.(Secret Discount code Tomorrow20)
Check out THIS post of ours on how to sleep right.