Nasal breathing improves sleeping as well as reducing snoring. While sleeping, it has been found that your oral passages are restricted, causing you to struggle to breath. Besides waking up from a scary dream, have you ever gasped for air through your mouth or “gagged” on your own air? This is most likely due to you breathing through your mouth at night. Condition yourself throughout the day to strictly breath through your nose. Your mouth was made for communication/ chirping, eating, and probably kissing. In addition to improving sleep, nasal breathing can help your body fight off bacteria, allergens and more. Your nose has an elite filtration system whereas your mouth invites all bad particles straight into your body. Your nose will naturally cool or warm the temperature of the air to your body’s liking. This will allow for air to be better distributed throughout your body.
By focusing on our nasal breathing we are activating our parasympathetic nervous system. When we nasal breathe we create calmness in the body and stimulate restorative systems. With research I have observed numerous examples of how and why mouth breathing is bad and inefficient. Our body’s fight or flight system is one that has been programmed to save us from danger. The first thing our ancestors did, or Bear Grylls does, when they see a lion attacking them is open their mouth and gasp for air. This shoots immense amounts of oxygen to our body and brain signaling for the survival hormones to kick in. In most of our lives this process should rarely be activated, but many people haven’t been informed of ways to prevent it. Breathing through your nose can mitigate hyperventilation and the activation of the sympathetic nervous system. It does this by signaling to your brain saying “we are ok”. Basically, you are taking back control of your body. So breathe through your nose unless you get stuck in The Tiger King’s pit. Another benefit of nasal breathing is that it stimulates and produces the gas nitric oxide. “Nitric oxide is a potent bronchodilator and vasodilator. Therefore it helps lower blood pressure and significantly increases the lungs’ oxygen-absorbing capacity.”. This is great news for all three back to basics topics- health, wellness, and performance. Through nasal breathing we can also practice a form of mindfulness meditation. By solely focusing on your breath, you are practicing a form of meditation. This will help clear your mind, and refocus you.
There is a lot of research focused on the proper way to breathe while training. Many people have different forms, and I have even practiced many of them. My old form, mouth breathing and gasping for air isn’t attractive for many reasons. Mouth breathing causes you to lose more water weight through the increase in breath amount. I have been slowly shifting to nasal breathing to harness the powerful benefits it holds. It is a challenging form, but through practice it can have great benefits during steady cardio, and recovery purposes. During optimal bouts where one is performing anaerobic exercises like max effort lifts it makes sense to use your mouth to gather as much oxygen as possible or even through your nose and a sharp/tight breath out of your mouth to release controlled amounts of C02. At suboptimal levels Nasal breathing is the more efficient method of breathing. Taking a breath through your nose takes longer than through your mouth and stimulates nitric oxide which was talked about earlier. Nitric oxide is a powerful gas that helps transport oxygen and helps absorb it better. Practice your nose breathing and when you can’t do it anymore bring down the intensity. Continue to push your boundaries until you complete your challenging anaerobic exercises/ workouts with controlled nasal breathing. Nose breathing should be controlled. During exercise focus on tempo breathes, find out what works for you… the slower the better.
5 Benefits of Nasal breathing
- Improves sleeping and reduces snoring
- Filters air
- Acts as a form of mindful meditation
- More efficient method of breathing
- Helps reduce stress and anxiety
Resources, and links used
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5466403/ (Effects of Nasal or Oral Breathing on Anaerobic Power Output and Metabolic Responses)
http://www.journals.aiac.org.au/index.php/IJKSS/article/view/3079/2548 (Oral versus Nasal Breathing during Moderate to High Intensity Submaximal Aerobic Exercise)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4047298/ (Increased oxygen load in the prefrontal cortex from mouth breathing: a vector-based near-infrared spectroscopy study)
https://www.lenus.ie/bitstream/handle/10147/559021/JAN15Art7.pdf;jsessionid=9E8EFCAFC59CD779330E01B83B2502C5?sequence=1 (The health benefits of nose breathing)