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35% Of People Mouth Breath…This Is Why It’s A Bad Idea

Should you be breathing through your nose or your mouth?

There’s a lot of talk about the benefits of nose breathing but then you go to a Yoga class and they tell you to breathe through your mouth…

Which is right?

So first up let’s be clear, what I’m talking about today is the breathing you do on an everyday basis, more or less subconsciously.

The problem with mouth breathing over extended periods of time is it generally forces your tongue to the bottom of your mouth (just try sticking your tongue to the top of your mouth and breathing through your’s difficult).

This tongue position over time actually changes the structure of the jaw, dropping it down and backwards, which erodes the natural musculature of the jawline and leads to a slack jawed look (not very sexy).

Turns out the position of the jaw is actually really important for a lot of things (apart from just having a chiseled jawline), chief amongst them – preventing sleep apnea. As the tongue drops and the jawline shifts backward apnea becomes more and more likely.

Why is apnea such a big deal?

It leads to intermittent hypoxia.

This gets pretty complicated pretty quickly but this type of hypoxia leads to an abundance of something called Stabilised HIF-1 in the cells which when combined with oxygen re-uptake injury (that explosion of air when you do finally take a breath), drives all sorts of changes we really don’t want, cancer, weight gain, inflammation – the usual suspects.

Now this isn’t to say all types of hypoxia are bad. As I’m sure you’re aware many athletes use hypoxic training to get an edge before a big competition. But there are different forms of hypoxia and the type induced by apnea is the worst form of hypoxia.

This also isn’t to say that all mouth breathing is bad. Breath has a HUGE ability to impact our nervous system and there are many different ways we can use it to gain a specific result.

So in short, for your Yoga, keep breathing like you’re being told, but for normal, subconscious breathing, nose breathing is the way to go.

How To FIx This?

If you are a mouth breather and want to start to fix this, an easy (if somewhat weird) way is mouth taping at night.

Just take a small bit of surgical tape and tape your mouth shut at night, the first night it’ll feel strange, you’ll barely sleep and your partner will think you’re a freak. Don’t stress, it’ll very quickly become normal and will train your body to breath through the nose naturally whilst also helping to clear Stabilised HIF-1 at night.

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