- Updated on September 9, 2020
Proofread by Samson Hui Proofreader on July **, 2019
By Dr. Artour Rakhimov, Alternative Health Educator and Author
- Medically Reviewed by Naziliya Rakhimova, MD
How to Sleep with Mouth Closed: Mouth Taping At Night
In order to ensure nasal breathing and stop mouth taping during the night, in the 1960s, Russian patients invented mouth taping techniques: how to sleep with your mouth closed. These techniques are a part of the Buteyko breathing method.
First of all, it is necessary to find out if one has this problem. This can be done by checking dryness in the mouth just after waking up in the morning. If the mouth is dry, mouth breathing is very likely.
This problem of mouth taping could appear when the person goes to sleep or it could appear at 3 or 4 am. In any case, just 20-30 minutes of mouth-breathing resets the breathing center to lower Control Pause (body oxygen level), and such patients, as a rule, have less than 20 seconds for the morning body-oxygen test.
Moreover, if you have a malignant tumor and your daily CP is above 20 s, your tumor will grow only during the time of the night, when you breathe through your mouth. Therefore, you need to learn how to sleep with your mouth closed. If you have sinusitis, the pathogenic bacteria in your sinuses will multiply and colonize new mucosal surfaces when you breathe through your mouth. If the mouth falls open during sleep there could be damage to the heart muscle, growth of inflamed areas in the GI tract, the advance of pathogens on your skin (in cases of eczema, psoriasis, etc.) and on other organs and tissues, and many other problems. It is common that people notice or complain about a blocked nose, more coughing problems, fatigue and other symptoms after nights with oral breathing. The solution may be simple, you need to tape your mouth.
Mouth taping instructions
For mouth taping, one needs a surgical tape and cream to prevent the tape from sticking. Both can be found in a pharmacy. Micropore (or 3M) and vaseline are popular choices. First, put a small amount of cream on the lips so that the tape can be removed easily in the morning. Then, take a small piece of tape and stick it in the middle, vertically, across the closed mouth. Some students prefer to put the tape horizontally, but a small piece of tape vertically in the middle is sufficient. If you are afraid to seal the mouth completely, tape only one half of the mouth leaving space for emergency breathing.
In 2006, one of my Buteyko method colleagues, Dr. James Oliver, a GP from the UK and former president of the Buteyko Breathing Association made a presentation to the British Thoracic Society about the safety of mouth taping based on thousands of cases both in Russia and in the west. Previously, he conducted a survey among us, Buteyko method teachers and obtained the statistical data.
Mouth taping at night to stop mouth breathing should normally be a temporary measure. Indeed, the experience of my breathing students revealed that mouth breathing at night disappeared once they achieved a certain level of CP (criteria). This result guarantees nasal breathing throughout the whole night. Share this page on one of your social networks, to reveal this goal and criteria.
When your CP (body oxygen level) is above 20 s in the morning, mouth taping is no longer necessary. But I know many people who loved this method so much, they still taped the mouth for years later!
In this YouTube video below Dr. Artour Rakhimov explains mouth taping benefits and Volker Schmitz, a Buteyko teacher from Hamburg, Germany, shows the mouth-taping technique using plaster or surgical tape.
Does mouth taping create distress?
Most students have no problems with mouth taping and they breathe only through the nose during the whole night. Their mouth is not dry in the morning and they report numerous benefits of mouth taping.
However, some students may find mouth-taping difficult and uncomfortable, so they remove the tape during the night. These incidents have physiological causes, including:
1. Sleeping on the back. If you turn on your back while sleeping at night, your breathing gets almost twice as heavy, and it will be very difficult to pump more air through the nose. Hence, learn the module devoted to the prevention of sleeping on one’s back.
2. Overly warm sleep conditions. If your blanket is too warm, your breathing becomes deeper and bigger during sleep. You will wake up finding out that breathing through the nose is uncomfortable. To prevent overheating, use less warm clothes and blankets during sleep.
3. Carpets in your bedroom. The presence of carpets makes air quality tens or even hundreds of times worse. During night sleep several cubic meters of air with millions of airborne particles, including dust, dust mites, their droppings, bacteria, and viruses, will enter through the nasal passages. These irritants make nasal passages dryer and can penetrate into bronchi and the lungs causing stress for the immune system and deep breathing. Sleeping in carpet-free rooms or covering carpets with plastic will solve this problem.
4. Dusty or clean but old pillowcases, blankets, and bedsheets create the same effect, as well as books, newspapers, hanging clothes, and old dusty curtains. Make sure that your bedroom has good air quality.
5. Closed windows during the night greatly worsen air quality in the bedroom due to poor air circulation and the absence of air ions that make the air cleaner. Either keep windows open or, if it is too cold or too noisy outside, buy an air ionizer/purifier and keep it running through the night.
6. Skin rashes due to extreme skin sensitivity. Try to find a hypoallergic tape or surgical paper tape. If rashes are still a problem, you can sew together two clean socks making a circle. Wear it at night around your head so that to keep your jaw closed.
You can find more information with extra details and a systematic approach to sleep and related lifestyle factors in Dr. Artour Rakhimov’s book “Sleep Better and Less – Naturally“.
Related web pages:
– How to maintain nasal breathing 24/7 Manual (main page of Module 7)
– Why breathing should be strictly nasal (Webpage about biochemical effects of mouth breathing)
– The breathing exercise to unblock the nose (Article about the Buteyko breathing exercise)
– Stop coughing at night (Article about the Buteyko breathing exercise)
– More research articles and abstracts about other benefits of nasal breathing (Web page about mouth breathing and morning fatigue; Sleep apnea and snoring; Mouth breathing in asthmatics; etc.)
– Devastating effects of mouth breathing on the health of infants and children (with medical research articles and abstracts)
– Nasal nitric oxide research