The nose is built for a specific purpose: to support our respiratory system (the primary purpose of the mouth, on the other hand, is to start the digestive process). The nostrils, hair and nasal passageways are designed to assist in filtering allergens and foreign bodies from entering the lungs. The nose also adds moisture and warmth to inhaled air for smoother entry to the lungs.
Nasal breathing, as opposed to mouth breathing, has another important advantage, especially for effective and efficient exercise: it can allow for more oxygen to get to active tissues. This is because breathing through the nose releases nitric oxide, which is necessary to increase carbon dioxide (CO2) in the blood, which in turn is what releases oxygen (O2). Mouth breathing does not effectively release nitric oxide, which means the cells are not getting as much oxygen as through nasal breathing, which could lead to fatigue and stress.
Nasal breathing also activates the part of the nervous system that supports rest, recovery, and digestion, rather than the part of the nervous system that is responsible for survival or stress states, such as fight or flight. That means that, even if the body is in a stressful state, nasal breathing can provide a sense of calm and allow us to function better.
First, pay attention: always think breathe through your nose; breathe through the nose, while walking and exercising.
Second, practice nasal breathing. Close the mouth, relax the tongue. Take slow, deep breathes from the lower diaphragm, exhale also through the nose. Your breathing should be slow, methodical, and quiet. Some people who mouth-breathe during sleep try “mouth taping”. See us for this kind of tape and the way to use it.
Brian MacKenzie, author, athlete, and founder of the “Art of Breath” said he believes nasal breathing can profoundly improve our awareness and acknowledges how good it feels both mentally and physically. “To desire a mind that remains curious and can see the beauty in any experience is true freedom. Our breath is the direct link to a calm, clear mind and body.” In short, close your mouth, breathe through your nose.
Contact our office to get evaluated by Dr. Galante and see if you need help with sleep apnea.