Believe it or not, high blood pressure, snoring, asthma, anxiety and erectile disfunction are just a few of the common side effects of habitual mouth breathing.
As a Holistic Health and Lifestyle Coach, breathing is one of the 6 foundational health principles that I teach (1. Thoughts, 2. BREATHING, 3. Hydration, 4. Diet, 5. Exercise, 6. Sleep).
Nose for breathing, mouth for eating!
Why nose breathing?
The air we breathe needs to warmed and filtered before it travels into our lungs. When we breathe through our nose, there’s an important gaseous exchange that occurs; nitric oxide is released which is a vasodilator, relaxing blood vessels and improving blood flow which lowers blood pressure, combats erectile dysfunction and improves brain function.
The nose is beautifully designed; it has tiny parasympathetic nerve endings which stimulate diaphragmatic breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing is important for lowering heart rate, reducing the stress hormone cortisol and promoting good oxygen exchange.
Mouth breathing is bad news
On the contrary, mouth breathing stimulates the fight and flight branch of our nervous system and, over time, can even change your facial structure, especially if adopted from a young age.
If you don’t use it, you lose it
If we stop using our noses to breathe, just like anything else, we lose the capability to do so – nasal passages and sinuses narrow and even close. This then leaves us more susceptible to bacteria, viruses, snoring and sleep apnea.
Mouth breathing bypasses the natural filtering of air so we’re more susceptible to bacteria, viruses, a dry mouth, bad breath and poor oral health!
Take a moment to assess your own breathing; it could literally change your life! Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I breathe through my mouth or nose?
- Do I easily breathe through my nose?
- Which nostril is dominant or more open?
- Where does my tongue sit when I breathe?
- What’s the length of my inhale versus exhale?
- How many breaths do I take per minute?
Healthy nose breathing guidelines
- Ideally you should breathe through your nose, especially when at rest.
- Your tongue should naturally sit behind your front teeth, and roof of your mouth.
- Breathing should be slow and quiet.
- Healthy breathing rate per minute should be at around 12 or below.
- Throughout the day the air will flow more through one side than the other. The right nostril corresponds to the left brain, and left nostril to the right side.
- The first two thirds of your breath should emanate from your belly.
The good news is, if you’re struggling to breathe correctly, it is something you can improve with conscious practice. If you’d like help improving your breathing, then get in touch today, we’d love to help.