Many of us are breathing wrong. As humans, when it comes to breathing we have two choices; nasal breathing or mouth breathing. They both lead to the same place, the throat, so it shouldn’t matter which one we choose… not quite!
It’s estimated that 30-50% of adults breathe through their mouths. Think of it like this, your mouth is primarily designed for eating, drinking and talking. Yes, you can use your mouth to breathe but it should only be used as a backup for when you have nasal congestion for example. Your nose, on the other hand, was designed to help you breathe safely, efficiently, and properly.
Some say breathing through your mouth makes as much sense as eating through your nose!
BENEFITS OF NASAL BREATHING
Air that is breathed directly into the lungs through the mouth is not filtered. Nasal breathing filters the air of allergens, bacteria and viruses before it enters the body. The hair and mucus of the airway linings collect potential contaminants that are destroyed by nasal enzymes before they can cause harm.
Nasal breathing leads to nitric oxide production, which helps to open up airways and enhance the uptake of oxygen in your bloodstream. When you breathe through your nose, there’s about 50% more air resistance imposed on the incoming air stream, as compared to mouth breathing.
As nasal breathing increases blood flow, lowers blood pressure, and improves brain function, many people tape their mouths shut at night. This is to train themselves to nasal breathe whilst they sleep. We know it sounds drastic but it can transform the quality of sleep you get. You’re also less likely to snore, so it may improve the quality of sleep for your other half too! If you’re wanting to give this a try, we’d recommend MYOTAPE.
WHY IS NASAL BREATHING BEST IN THE COLD?
Nasal breathing promotes activity in the lower lung which activates your parasynthetic nervous system, associated with calming the body and mind. Because of this, it’s best to breathe through your nose in stressful environments such as an ice bath, cold shower or wild swim.
Mouth breathing in a stressful situation such as an ice bath can result in rapid, shallow breaths that may lead to hyperventilating. When practising nose breathing, slower, less frequent, deeper breaths minimise the chances of gasping and can lead your body and mind to calm.
We should be nasal breathing all of the time. Wim Hof has said throughout the day, we should focus on nasal breathing as “in the long term, mouth breathing instead of conscious nasal breathing, makes your body more stressful.” Day or night, if you are a notorious mouth breather, it’s time to make a change!