The Silent Night Revolution: Mouth Taping for a Better Sleep?

Fresh from the fevered imagination of social media, a curious new sleep method is making the rounds, fuelling both scepticism and curiosity in equal measure. Mouth taping works by gently closing your mouth to encourage nasal breathing at night, and is said to help people stop snoring, get more quality sleep, and wake more refreshed. But is it a useful sleep hack? Or just another wacky internet wellness craze?

Unveiling THE FORCE Behind Mouth Taping

Why Force Our Mouths Shut?

Modern research into sleep apnea helps explain why nightly masking tape has become popular, for this disorder is characterised by intermittent pauses in breathing or breaths that are too shallow to sustain life. If not treated, the condition can detract from sleep quality and lead to a host of related health problems. Snoring driven by airway blockage might have an easy fix – forcing the closure of the mouth by treating the cause in the root.

Does THE FORCE of Science Hold Up?

The Force of Breath: Nasal vs. Mouth Breathing

It’s not just an issue of survival – how you breathe can affect how well you sleep, and the quality of your health overall. Mouth breathers, we know, aren’t our friends for effective sleep: they make conditions like OSA worse. By forcing the breath through the nose, mouth taping allows the sleeper to avoid the dry mouth, sore throat, and bacterial playground that open-mouthed breathing entices.

The Force in Numbers: Studies and Statistics

The scientific sphere has also begun to open a window to the treatment of mouth taping, albeit carefully. A 2015 study demonstrated a reduction of snoring and the number of sleep-apnoea episodes in participants by means of ‘porous oral patches’. A 2022 study revealed that mouth taping resulted in significant improvement of symptoms in mild OSA. Despite the promising studies on mouth taping, the fact that most of them have small sample sizes and very limited studies hinders any joyful celebration of their demonstration of mouth taping benefits, necessitating caution and the need for more studies.

Challenges and Considerations: When THE FORCE Backfires

When the Force Backfires

But the practice has its potential pitfalls too. Not every sleeper gains from it – the 2015 trial notably notes that a few of its participants reported that mouth taping made their condition worse. And the ‘mouth-puffing’ phenomenon, where sufferers continue to breathe out of their taped mouths, is a red flag, suggesting that more serious underlying issues need to be addressed – making mouth taping a burden rather than a boon.

Expert Opinions: A FORCE to Be Reckoned With?

Doctors caution that mouth taping could pose a risk for people with serious breathing problems, such as severe OSA. ‘Bottom line, if I don’t know if someone has sleep apnoea or not, I’m not recommending they try mouth taping. I’m telling them not to,’ Wright says. ‘It’s something that – if it works for you – it works for you. If it doesn’t, it could be quite dangerous.’

Alternative Forces: Exploring Other Solutions

For mouth-tapers who are afraid of choking, there’s an entire ecosystem of nasal-breathing practices and devices that can be used to enhance the habit of breathing through the nose, and to treat things such as sleep apnoea. CPAP machines, positional aids, and breathing exercises can all add up to a long and arduous journey to better nighttime breathing, but the end results can bring more restful nights and livelier mornings.

Understanding THE FORCE: The Science of Sleep

Any time you start a new habit in the realm of sleep, which is both mysterious and essential to life, it’s crucial to be aware of the forces at play beneath the surface. Sleep is a dynamic, complex process, and interventions such as mouth taping interact with our bodies in subtle ways. Time will tell, perhaps, if in the long run, with lots of rigorous science behind it, the proclaimed good of mouth taping can be seen as such.

In the meantime, those looking to better their sleeping by improving nasal breathing are urged to proceed with caution, knowledge, and your doctor’s chart. The holy grail of sleep is still out there, hopefully, and this simple little technique called mouth taping may yet have a part to play.

Jun 08, 2024
<< Go Back