Nostril Breathing vs. Mouth Breathing and Why It Matters

Stop right now where you are. Notice how you're breathing. Are you breathing through your nose or mouth? Have you ever thought about this? Most of us haven't. Why does it even matter? In fact, many people would tell you it doesn't matter. But it DOES matter; much more than you may even realize.

Your breath is one of the most important aspects to your health. How you breathe determines your overall health and wellness. You can breathe to promote health, or you can breathe to promote illness. And many of us are doing the latter. One of the most important aspects to proper breathing, is breathing through your nose. 

Once you start to form the habit of nostril breathing, which I discuss in the video below, you can dramatically improve our health in a variety of ways. In this video I share why nostril breathing matters and how it impacts your overall health and well being. The first thing I would encourage you to do is tune into your breath periodically throughout the day. Bring awareness to your breath when you're busy doing something, and  notice how you've been breathing. You may find that you've been breathing through your mouth, or that you're breathing really shallow and really fast, or you're not breathing at all.

Another time to really tune into your breath is when you're sleeping. Many people  breathe through their mouth when they're sleeping, and that can develop into a wide range of disorders. I know it may seem difficult to be aware of your breath when you're asleep. But a few signs that you're mouth breathing at night are:

  1. Waking up with a dry mouth
  2. Snoring
  3. Sleep Apnea
  4. Having to pee during the night

I've also found that when I am intentionally aware of my breathing at night I will sometimes notice how I was breathing right before I fully wake up. And there have been many times when I was mouth breathing. More on how to fix that later. 

So let's talk about the benefits of nostril breathing and why this needs to be a priority in your health and wellness routine and something to really focus on. When you breathe through your nose, it offers many benefits. Our nostrils are smaller than our mouth. So when we breathe in and out through our nostrils, the rate of airflow to our lungs is reduced. And this is actually a good thing because this allows more time for oxygen to be absorbed. So when you're breathing through your nose, it allows for more oxygen to be absorbed into the bloodstream, and that will increase your energy levels. How many of us are just struggling to get through the day? You feel fatigued,  low on energy. Simply starting to implement regular nostril breathing can boost your energy levels. Another benefit of nostril breathing is that your nose hairs serve as tiny air filters! Breathing in through your nose filters the air, it cleans the air, it conditions the air. So you're breathing in higher quality air when you breathe in through your nose. Finally, the next benefit, and perhaps the most important is that when you breathe through your nose, that stimulates the production of nitric oxide. Studies have shown that nitric oxide has anti-pathogen properties. It helps defend against pathogens that may enter your body like bacteria, viruses, fungi. When you breathe in through the nose, you get that stimulation of the production of nitric oxide. This benefits your health in so many ways.

When you breathe into your mouth, you don't get that, so you're less protected. Your immune system is less protected. 

You can produce your own nitric oxide if you just change the way you breathe.  Nostril breathing and nitric oxide play fundamental roles in many functions of your body. It actually plays a role in erectile dysfunction. It triggers a range of hormones in the body, and it plays a role in regulating a warm woman's menstrual cycle. It helps lower blood pressure. It supports and eases digestion. It helps regulate heart rate and open the vessels and our toes and even stores memories.

Some of the statistics I'll share with you have come from an amazing book called Breath by James Nester. There's so much great information in this book around the importance of nasal breathing. And it's exactly what I studied in my breath training to become a breathwork instructor.

He states, "One of the many benefits [of nose breathing] is that the sinuses release a huge boost of nitric oxide, a molecule that plays an essential role in increasing circulation and delivering oxygen into cells. Immune function, weight, circulation, mood, and sexual function can all be heavily influenced by the amount of nitric oxide in the body. (The popular erectile dysfunction drug sildenafil, known by the commercial name Viagra, works by releasing nitric oxide into the bloodstream, which opens the capillaries in the genitals and elsewhere.) Nasal breathing alone can boost nitric oxide sixfold, which is one of the reasons we can absorb about 18 percent more oxygen than by just breathing through the mouth."

So that is my assignment for you is to really start to focus on breathing through your nose. That is step number one, and then we can get into slowing the breath, breathing from the diaphragm, all of these other things that are really important but just switching from mouth breathing to nose breathing can have a tremendous impact on your health. 


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