How to Sleep With Mouth Closed
Oxygen is essential for life, and how it enters the body has a direct impact on the physiology of our body. Mouth breathing harms our body’s homeostasis, an automated process by which an organism can maintain internal stability while adjusting to changing external conditions.
For example, mouth breathing can cause dental disease, physical changes such as imbalance of craniofacial muscle activity and deformation of head posture produced by positional changes of the tongue, lips, and mandible. Furthermore, tiny hair in the nose called cilia filters out dust and other particles. Since the mouth lacks this certain function, many particles can enter and harm our bodies.
Now that we know the problems caused by mouth breathing let’s look at what causes nighttime mouth breathing before learning how to stop mouth breathing.
What Causes Nighttime Mouth Breathing
Mouth breathing is when a person breathes through their mouth instead of the nasal passage. And one of the most common reasons that can cause nighttime mouth breathing is sleep apnea, a condition characterised by repeated episodes of complete or partial obstructions of the upper airway during sleep. But if you don’t have sleep apnea, are you wondering ‘why do I sleep with my mouth open?
The underlying cause of mouth breathing is divided into two types, obstructive and habitual mouth breathing. Dr Sana Taher, a consultant orthodontist and implantologist, explains these causes.
Obstructive mouth breathing is when people can’t breathe through their nose for several reasons. The causes include simple allergies or other substances that cause rhinitis and a blockage in the nasal passages, leading to mouth breathing. Another cause can be associated with severe deviated nasal septum or adenoids, a case of enlarged tonsils.
There are specific anatomic causes like a short upper lip where the person cannot close their mouth entirely at rest; this condition is called an incompetent lips seal, resulting in mouth breathing. And habitually mouth breathing is when a person inhales and exhales through the mouth, even when the nose is sufficiently free.
7 Ways to Stop Mouth Breathing
Following are the 7 ways to stop mouth breathing.
If a person breathes through their mouth, they could be breathing more than they should be, summarising as over-breathing. So when the person tries to breathe through the nose, they may feel air hunger because the amount of air they breathe is too high.
So to restore nasal breathing, practise some breathing exercises that require holding breaths.
2. Clearing Any Nose Blockage
If a person is mouth breathing due to a congested nose, removing the congestion is how to stop mouth breathing. And there are many ways to clear the nasal blockage at night. You can elevate your head, blow your nose, turn on the humidifier, or use a nasal wash, to clear your nasal passage of obstructions.
3. Stress Reduction
When people are stressed, their breathing is more rushed, faster than normal, audible, punctuated by sighs, and involves visible movements of the upper chest. You can consult your healthcare provider and try breathing exercises like the 2:1 breathing technique. This can help achieve a relaxed breathing pattern.
4. The Right Pillows
As mentioned before, when a person feels congested while lying down at night, something as simple as changing the height of their head can decongest the nasal passage. You can try elevating your head by using or with an extra pillow or a thicker pillow.
Exercising regularly can help with mouth breathing. Exercising reduces stress hormones and stimulates the production of endorphins, which can, in turn (as mentioned), reduces your chances of mouth breathing.
6. See a Therapist
Contacting a myofunctional therapist is another solution for how to keep your mouth closed while sleeping. Myofunctional therapy can treat mouth breathing, sleep apnea, tongue thrust, tongue-tie, and speech issues and improve orthodontic treatment. It helps strengthen the muscles, facilitates oral posture when the mouth is closed, and aids in nasal breathing.
If nothing else works for you, you may have an issue with how your nose is constructed. So, set up an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss the available surgeries regarding the issues.
When to See a Doctor
You should consult your doctor if the suggestions mentioned above don’t work. While mouth breathing is rarely an emergency, it can lead to various oral health problems, such as gum disease, chronic bad breath, and crooked teeth. And if you spot any symptoms of mouth breathing, especially a dry mouth upon awakening or chronic bad breath, talk with the doctor.
If left untreated, mouth breathing can become a hard-to-break habit that can cause sleep disorders, dental problems, and differences in facial structure. It also creates snoring, poor quality, and non-restorative sleep, which can reduce the quality of your life and increase your stress levels. So, try the aforementioned ways, and if these suggestions don’t work, consult your doctor.
How do I stop acid reflux while sleeping?
According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, lying on the left side while elevating the head or torso reduces acid reflux.
Does water help with acid reflux at night?
It can help prevent acid reflux. The Case Reports in Gastrointestinal Medicine report that frequent sips of water can help clear acid from the oesophagus.
Why is acid reflux worse at night?
It could be because of gravity that doesn’t work in your favour when you’re lying down. When a person lies down at night, gravity no longer helps keep the stomach acid down, making it easier for reflux to occur.
Does drinking water help acid reflux?
Yes, it is a possible remedy. Drinking water can help balance the pH of a particularly acidic meal, which may help to lower the risk of acid reflux.
What helps acid reflux go away?
There are several ways to get rid of acid reflux, which include:
- Eating small meals more frequently.
- Avoiding foods that can trigger reflux, including mint, fatty foods, spicy foods, tomatoes, onions, garlic, coffee, tea, chocolate, and alcohol.
- Avoiding carbonated beverages.
- Avoiding smoking.
- Avoiding lying down right after eating.
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