What links your anxiety, your energy levels, and your ability to fight off colds? Yes, your nose is undoubtedly the secret ingredient to a lot of things that could be making you feel off-kilter. Your nose is not just something that secretes fluids but it is your first line of defense against bacteria and viruses. But this is only if you breathe through it! The microscopic hairs inside your nose will trap pathogens which may result in a bit more snot, but you will be healthier and happier as a result. So how can nose breathing help you in many aspects of your life and how can you start breathing through your nose if you’ve been a mouth breather all these years?
Nose Breathing Boosts Cardiovascular Health
The nose produces nitric oxide which is an important compound for your immune and cardiovascular health. Nitric oxide is released from the nasal airways and will follow the airstream into the lungs. When it reaches the lungs, it plays an important role in opening and closing blood vessels. So if you are someone who is not able to breathe through your nose what can you do?
Unblock Your Nose
You may have got into the habit of breathing through your mouth because your nostril passages feel blocked, but while few people have a deviated septum or small nostrils that can only be fixed with a nose job or surgery, you can learn to unblock your nose by very simply inhaling and exhaling through your nose then pinching it and holding your breath.
Getting Into the Habit of Creating “Air Hunger”
Because we all think we need a lot of oxygen to breathe properly, the fact is that your blood is already oxygenated, and learning to breathe through your nose is difficult at the beginning, you need to start by creating an air hunger. A little air shortage is a good place to begin because rather than holding your breath and then taking a huge deep breath afterward, you need to get into the habit of learning to recover as quickly as possible which means being calm. If you haven’t recovered within 2 or 3 breaths, this means you will have created too much air hunger.
Tackling Your Mouth Breathing at Night by Using Tape
This is something that should only be done if you are truly comfortable. There are a few practitioners who talk about covering up your mouth with tape which can feel suffocating, but this is purely for educational purposes. If you don’t want to go down this route you can use a mouthguard that will keep your airways open but can keep your mouth shut.
Learning to breathe through your nose is a very worthwhile habit because it can make a big difference to your quality of life. If you’ve got into the habit of breathing through your mouth, try and switch to breathing through your nose. It may be difficult for the first few days but you may wake up feeling more refreshed, less stressed, and less prone to infection.