A simple measure to improve your breathing is to tape your mouth at night. It may sound strange, but I recommend everyone to try. If you feel uncomfortable, you can tape your mouth fifteen minutes before bedtime for a few nights in order to get used to the sensation. When you feel safe with the tape and the changed breathing pattern, it becomes natural to try the next step: taping your mouth at night.
The feedback I frequently get is that people wake up more alert in the morning, sleep more calmly, don’t wake up during the night, and need less sleep. You may think that it’s not very sexy, but you can always cuddle first, and then tape your mouth. Some prefer to wait until their partner has fallen asleep before applying the tape to their mouth. Perhaps you can get your partner to tape their mouth too? I do not recommend that children under five years of age tape their mouth.
Here is what a couple of women writes about their experiences:
– I panicked at first but got used to it … was laying for a while and, then, woke up and removed the tape, but then, after a few days, it worked out just fine, and now I don’t think about it … slept last night about seven hours on end with the tape … (normally I always wake up several times every night) have started sleeping better since I could have the tape on … my advice is to not react that much if you panic … just remove the tape slowly and get used to it gradually at your pace …
– When I tried it the first time, I panicked. Then, I went to my breathing. I focused on my breathing, and after a while my emotions changed, and I fell asleep. I knew the feeling would pass or change. I moved my focus to my breath over and over again. It has been working well since then.
More practical experience
Here is what another woman writes about her experience:
– I have taped my mouth for a few weeks and sleep really great! But then one night, I woke up panicking! Was about to choke, and my heart almost stopped. I had stopped breathing with my nose, and my mouth was, of course, taped. Why do you think this happened? I dare not sleep with tape anymore.
My reply: – I’m glad to hear that you are sleeping so well with your mouth taped, but the night you woke up panicked does not sound like a particularly pleasant experience! It is hard to say what happened. Have you had issues with your health, panic, anxiety or heart in the past? Maybe this was a reaction to a stressful period of your life? Maybe this was a reaction to something you have repressed that surfaced?
I understand that it must have been scary when your mouth was taped. If you dare to try to tape again, I recommend that you tape in the evening for a while, to get used to the tape again. A tip is also to split the Sleep Tape into two parts and tape from the nose and down to the chin so that you quickly and easily can remove the tape if needed.
Whereupon the woman replied: – Yes, you are probably right about the anxiety. I am taping my mouth again now and have been doing so all week. Have noticed that I stop breathing with my nose and try to breathe with my mouth taped while lying on my back. If I refrain from sleeping on my back, it works pretty well. Have not woken up with anxiety for a whole week now. I try to keep my mouth shut and breathe low, using my abdomen when awake now. I’m feeling much better.
Mouth taping at night – a well tested method
In the book “Sluta snarka börja leva” (“Stop Snoring Start Living”), only available in Swedish, from 1991, the author Tore Strandell suggests that you should tape your mouth shut at night (see image below). Tore is a licensed physician, associate professor at the Karolinska Institute, Sweden, and founder of Aleris Physiology Lab, the largest sleep clinic in Northern Europe.
Taping the mouth at night is done at your own risk
NOTE! All taping of your mouth shut with Sleep Tape are at your own risk. I do not recommend children under five to tape their mouths at night.
One person says: – As a nurse, I am particularly interested in relaxation, but I cannot in any way support a method that encourages people to tape their mouth shut at night. I think it is medically inappropriate.
And a chief physician writes as a response to the article Mouth taping helped in sleep apnea published in 1999 in The Medical Magazine (only in Swedish): – I think mouth taping is potentially very dangerous. Patients with sleep apnea may wake up with anxiety, and if so they need to quickly start to breathe. The patient who cannot immediately do this will most likely be more stressed, with an increased risk of a heart attack.”
Our breathing reflex is extremely strong
No doubt, discussing the risks of taping your mouth is indeed a valid question! At the same time, I do not think we should exaggerate it. The easiest thing to do is to note and follow your own reaction. If you get stressed out just by the mere thought of taping your mouth at night, do not do it. Instead, start by taping your mouth during the day, for example in front of the TV, to get used to the sensation that will occur in your body. If you have a disease or are on medication, it is advisable to consult your doctor.
In general, our breathing reflex is extremely strong. In this article, you can read about three women who have never been scared, not even when one of them was subjected to a robbery attempt. But when they inhaled large amounts of carbon dioxide, it was enough to trigger a strong breathing reflex to the point that they got so scared that they panicked.
The reason they panicked is because the breathing reflex is controlled by carbon dioxide, a substance that is constantly produced in the body. As carbon dioxide levels rise to a sufficiently high level, the respiratory center in the brainstem is triggered. The brainstem is the oldest part of our brain and is the center for all the functions that ensure our survival.
From the breathing center, a signal is sent to the diaphragm to move downward, which results in an inhalation. On the subsequent exhalation, the balance is restored as we exhale the carbon dioxide. If we stop breathing, then the rising carbon dioxide levels will eventually activate the survival function of the brainstem.