We are all familiar with that childhood threat during the summer holidays. The one where the parents said they would tape your mouth if you did not stop chattering and go to sleep immediately. Turns out they were not entirely wrong. Mouth taping is a new sleep therapy that promises good sleep, according to a popular book titled Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor.
As part of his research, Nestor conducted several breathing experiments to compare nasal versus oral breathing. One of these is mouth taping, a physical therapy that involves strapping your mouth using surgical tape (available in local pharmacies). It sounds bizarre, but it’s a proven method to encourage nasal breathing while you sleep. Famous Indonesian singer Andien even shared an Instagram video about the Buteyko method, as it is called in south Asian countries, with everyone in her family including her husband and two sons sleeping with taped mouths.
This method has only been explored in a few scientific studies and its potential advantages are mostly anecdotal at this point, says Dr E Ravinder Reddy, Senior Pulmonologist, Kamineni Hospitals, Hyderabad. “Nasal breathing is the right way of respiration—awake or while asleep. Mouth taping certainly reduces snoring and reduces micro-awakening, while promoting quality of sleep and improving cognitive function. But research on nighttime mouth taping and each of these issues is required before it can be said that mouth taping effectively treats them,” he adds.
Ayurveda acknowledges the benefits of this method. It is also helpful in improving oral health and eliminating dental health problems, says Vikas Chawla, Founder and Director, Vedas Cure, a Noida-based Ayurveda portal. “Many are oblivious to the fact that it also prevents snoring problems. Performing tongue exercises while wearing mouth taping can also strengthen mouth muscles.
It also builds strong immunity, providing an extra layer of defence and killing germs. People with high blood pressure should try mouth taping exercise as it controls blood pressure by expanding the blood vessels and bolstering the ability to transport oxygen throughout their bodies,” he adds.
How it Helps
✥The tape compels individuals to breathe through their nose, and it changes the angle of the palate and the tongue.
✥Dry mouth and bad breath are some of the health problems that mouth taping curbs. However, there was no significant improvement for those suffering from asthma.