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How to minimise mouth breathing

30th April 2024 • 3 min read
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Trading mouth for nose breathing might just be the key to enjoying a better night’s sleep.

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night with a mouth that feels drier than the Sahara Desert? Does your partner sometimes startle you awake with loud, open-mouth snores? Do you often catch your child snoozing on a drool-soaked pillow? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of those questions, you or someone in your household could be a mouth breather.  

It’s normal to occasionally breathe through your mouth when you’re sleeping. If you come down with a cold, for example, you probably won’t be able to get much air through your nose. But if you do it a lot over an extended period of time, it can start to impact your sleep.

Why do some people breathe through their mouths?

Most people breathe through their nose when they’re sleeping. If you find yourself breathing through your mouth, there are a few possible causes:

  • Nasal blockage or congestion – temporary congestion from an illness, or chronic congestion from asthma, allergies, or nasal polyps, can cause mouth breathing while you sleep.

  • Deviated septum – if the wall of cartilage between your nostrils is crooked, it can block the normal flow of air and make it difficult for you to breathe through your nose. 

  • Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) – mouth breathing can be a sign of OSA. In this condition, the throat muscles relax too much during sleep, blocking the flow of air and causing people to temporarily stop breathing. Enlarged tonsils or adenoids (glands in the back of the nose and throat) can also cause OSA in children.

What’s wrong with being a mouth breather?

Nose breathing is generally considered to be better for you when you’re sleeping. Not only does it warm and moisten the air before it enters your lungs, it helps filter out dust and germs, too. Chronic mouth breathing, on the other hand, has been linked to several adverse health effects – it can dry out your mouth and increase your risk of cavities, gum disease and bad breath.

But one of the most obvious issues with being a mouth breather is poor sleep quality. If you’re constantly snoring, drooling or getting up in the night to have a drink of water, it can disrupt your natural sleep cycle – not to mention your partner’s – and leave you feeling worn out the next day.

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How to stop night-time mouth breathing

Fortunately, being a chronic mouth breather doesn’t have to mean saying goodbye to great sleep. Here are some steps you can take to help prevent it. 

Adjust your sleeping position

One of the easiest things you can do is change your sleeping position. Lying on your side is considered to be one of the best sleeping positions for clearing the airways and promoting better breathing. Switching from your back to your side may even be effective in treating mild cases of OSA. 

Choose the right mattress 

Sleeping in a more upright position may also be helpful for some mouth breathers. Consider an adjustable bed base like the Forty Winks iAdjust Quest 3.0 adjustable base, which allows you to prop your head (and feet) up during the night. It also comes with foot massage capability to promote relaxation and an inbuilt bedhead for a stylish, seamless look. 

Or try the Forty Winks Tempur Ergo Pro Smart, an adjustable bed base that’s engineered to give you a luxurious night’s sleep. In addition to adjustable head and foot positioning, it contains sleep-tracking sensors that automatically detect snoring and raise the upper body by 12 degrees to mitigate this.

Then, pair your adjustable base with an adjustable mattress. With our wide selection of brands, sizes and comfort levels, you’re sure to find a combo to suit your needs. Our patented bedMATCH® diagnostic system, which is exclusive to Forty Winks, can help you find the perfect arrangement!

Seek professional help

If you’re on social media, you’ve probably come across people touting solutions like mouth taping and nasal strips to promote better breathing. These may work for some people, but you should seek advice from a qualified health professional before trying them yourself. Your doctor can help you work out why you breathe through your mouth at night and recommend suitable ways to deal with it.

Ready to get a better night’s sleep? Explore our product range here.

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