There are a few trends and ideas that we see sweep social media channels that leave us wondering it they are a healf or hype. Mouth taping is one of them.
Hailed as the solution to your snoring, sleep quality and curing morning breath, we’re seeing an increase in the trend originally started by biohackers to optimise their sleep routine.
Q: What made you want to begin mouth taping?
J: I got fairly severe Covid in April 2020 and one of my peers (also a nutritional therapist and a bit of a biohacker) told me to start mouth taping about 3 days into having symptoms to help with the recovery. I only had some masking tape as I was isolating in my room in my flat, but I used it and felt so much relief waking up the next day without so much of a dry mouth and sore throat. My symptoms cleared up within another couple of days, and I kept taping from then on as I had a tendency to sleep with my mouth open and would often wake up feeling a bit ropey, with a dry mouth and/or sore throat.
Q: From you experience, what are the benefits of mouth taping?
J: There are multiple benefits of mouth taping, which is why I get so many of my clients doing it (particularly if they’re aware that they sleep with their mouth open snore). The main benefit is that it forces you to breathe through your nose, which is a key part of our respiratory system and nasal breathing is that way that we have evolved to breathe.
When we breathe through our nose, we produce nitric oxide which is an anti-inflammatory gas that also helps us to shift our nervous system into a parasympathetic state. Nitric oxide also helps to dilate the airways (bronchodilation) and therefore reduce congestion to help us breathe better through the nasal cavity. As a result of this nasal breathing and increase in nitric oxide production, we encourage deeper sleep and prevent snoring.
Q: Can mouth taping help the immune system?
J: When we breathe through our mouths, we expose our immune systems to more particles and potential pathogens from the air that are not caught by the mucus and hairs in the naval cavity (and we don't have these in the oral tract). By keeping the mouth closed when we breathe, we reduce the burden on the immune system, reduce dry mouth and sore throat symptoms, and prevent overgrowth of bacteria in the oral microbiome. Over time, the taping helps you to train your body into keeping the mouth closed overnight.
Q: How long have you been mouth taping?
J: Since April 2020, so over 3 years now.
Q: What would you say to someone who is considering the practice but seems sceptical?
J: I would tell them the benefits, and tell them about my mum. She had awful insomnia and poor sleep and I persuaded her to tape up one night when I was staying. The next morning she said she had had the best night's sleep in about twenty years. You also do need to commit to about a week of taping before you will naturally relax into it. It's a strange experience at first, so give it time.
Q: Do you do it every night?
J: Absolutely. I can't easily sleep without it anymore.
Q: Other than mouth taping - what other night time practices have you found to be gospel in your health routine?
J: I also use an eye mask as I don't like being exposed to any light when I sleep. And I will wear blue-light blocking glasses for a couple of hours before bed.
View Jade's morning routine here
Now that we know the benefits, it’s important to know where to start & how to do mouth tape safely and effectively.
Before you reach for the duct tape (please don’t) it’s important to check that the tape you’re using is gentle on the skin and isn’t going to damage the skin in anyway. So step away from duct tape, Sellotape or any tape unless it’s medical or designed for the practice.
At healf, we love Dryft Sleep Mouth Tape Sleep Strips, which are a medical grade product of the right shape, size and material to support nasal breathing without damaging the skin or surrounding areas.
Using a postage stamp size piece of tape, and your mouth closed, place the tape at the centre of the lips – ensuring there is still space on either side of the mouth to cough or release air if necessary.
By Eleanor Hoath for Healf Journal