Yes, You Can Breathe Your Way To Better Sleep — A Breathing Expert Shares How

Nestor is a fan of nasal breathing. Aside from the fact that breathing through your nose can support immune health (our nostrils act as a filter for bacteria and viruses), breathing through your nose actually allows you to retain more oxygen.

“This air has to curve and twist through the airway, and it’s getting heated up. You are removing particulates, adding moisture, so by the time it reaches the lungs it is conditioned so you can absorb more of that oxygen more efficiently,” he explains. “You can get a lot more oxygen with fewer breaths.” As opposed to mouth breathing, which causes your tongue to fall back toward the upper palate of the mouth, obstructing the airway—in fact, one study showed that individuals who breathe through their mouths are more likely to experience sleep disorders, like sleep apnea.

Now, you might be thinking, How can I make sure I’m breathing through my nose if I’m, well, asleep? It’s something Nestor has personally struggled with, as he knew he was a “100% mouth breather” overnight. That’s why he practices a clever trick called “mouth taping.” 

“I place a little piece of tape on my lips to help train my jaw shut,” he notes. Now, taping your mouth shut while you sleep may (understandably) sound scary, but it’s not as absurd as it may sound. “Not a fat piece of duct tape,” he says. “Use blue painter’s tape.” Take a postage-stamp-size piece, and place it at the center of the lips. “You can still breathe if you want, but you want to train your jaw shut at night,” he explains. 

It’s such a small act, but it can be powerful for some who struggle with sleep: “This alone has been a complete life-changer. Some people aren’t snoring anymore; for others, their sleep apnea has gone down 80%,” he says.