While normal breathing is done through the nose, some people naturally breathe through their mouth. The main reason for breathing through the mouth is nasal congestion, due to chronic sinusitis, inflammation, allergies, or a deviated septum. However, there is a significant population of people that breathe through the mouth due to their sleep apnea.
During a sleep apnea episode, a person suddenly stops breathing. When the oxygen level dips, a person starts breathing in a way that causes loud snoring. A person will suddenly gasp or gulp in air as quickly as possible. Because of this phenomenon, an individual may develop a habit of breathing with the mouth open to accommodate the need for more oxygen.
Studies have found that breathing through the mouth makes obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) worse. Many doctors will prescribe oral appliances since mouth breathing is so prevalent in sleep apnea patients.
If you are naturally a mouth breather, here are a few suggestions that will make a difference in your sleep. You must be able to breathe clearly through your nose, so finding out the cause of nasal congestion is helpful. Reduce potential allergens such as dander, dust, or dairy foods. Ensure that your bedding is clean, so change sheets and pillowcases regularly. Oral appliances, saline rinses, and other measures are also helpful. Regular exercise is essential to reduce obstructive sleep apnea. It is crucial that patients to stop breathing through their mouth, and learn to breathe through the nose since nasal breathing decreases the severity of OSA.
Stopping oral breathing is a crucial step to take for people who are dealing with sleep apnea. If you have more questions about OSA and mouth breathing, consult with the sleep experts at Silent Night Therapy. We can be reached at (631) 983-2463, or reach out to us online for help.