Snoring and Sleep Health - Nasal Breathing, Mouth Breathing, and Chin Straps

A good night's sleep is vital for overall well-being, and snoring can often disrupt this restful experience. While occasional snoring is common, persistent snoring may be indicative of an underlying issue that could impact your sleep health. Learning about nasal breathing versus mouth breathing may help with snoring and getting a restful night’s sleep.

Benefits of Nasal Breathing

Nasal breathing plays a crucial role in maintaining optimal sleep health. The nose acts as a natural filter, humidifier, and temperature regulator for the air entering lungs. When breathing through the nose, the air is warmed and moistened, preventing irritation to the airways. Additionally, nasal breathing promotes the release of nitric oxide, a compound that helps expand blood vessels and improve oxygen uptake. This contributes to better overall respiratory function and can reduce the likelihood of snoring.

Mouth Breathing and Snoring

In contrast, mouth breathing during sleep can contribute to snoring and disrupt the quality of rest. When breathing through the mouth, air may pass through the throat with more force, causing vibrations of the soft tissues in the airway – a common cause of snoring. Chronic mouth breathing can also lead to dry mouth and throat, increasing the likelihood of discomfort during sleep.

Chin Straps: A Soultion for Mouth Breathers

For individuals who struggle with mouth breathing during sleep, chin straps may be a valuable tool. These straps are designed to help keep the mouth closed during sleep and encourage nasal breathing. By promoting proper airflow through the nose, chin straps may reduce the vibrations in the throat that lead to snoring. It is important to note that while chin straps can be effective for some individuals, they may not be suitable for everyone.

Consulting with your Treating Provider

Before incorporating any sleep aid, including chin straps, into a sleeping or nighttime routine, it is important to consult with your treating provider. Snoring can be a symptom of a more serious condition, such as sleep apnea, a disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. A healthcare professional can conduct a thorough evaluation to determine the underlying cause of snoring and recommend appropriate interventions and treatments.

In the pursuit of optimal sleep health, understanding the significance of nasal breathing versus mouth breathing is crucial. For those struggling with snoring due to mouth breathing, chin straps can offer a potential solution. However, it is imperative to prioritize consultation with a treating provider to rule out underlying sleep disorders and ensure the most effective and personalized approach to improving sleep quality.

*This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for medical advice. For medical questions and advice, it is always best to consult with your trained physician.

Related articles: 

Healthy Sleep: A Guide to Restful Nights

Sleeping and Aging Well: Choosing the Right Pillows for Neck, Back, and Knees

Sources:

Bhat, S., Gushway-Henry, N., Polos, P. G., DeBari, V. A., Riar, S., Gupta, D., Lysenko, L., Patel, D., Pi, J., & Chokroverty, S. (2014, August 15). The efficacy of a chinstrap in treating sleep disordered breathing and snoring. Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4106943/ 

Mouth Breathing - Mankato. Mayo Clinic Health System. (n.d.). https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/locations/mankato/services-and-treatments/otorhinolaryngology/pediatric-ent-conditions/mouth-breathing#:~:text=Benefits%20of%20nasal%20breathing&text=Taking%20air%20in%20through%20the,by%20breathing%20through%20the%20nose

Rausch-Phung, E., & Singh, A. (2023, December 7). How to stop sleeping with Mouth Open. Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/snoring/sleeping-with-mouth-open