Do you mouth-breathe in your sleep? It might seem trivial but it’s not the best habit. Dry mouth, snoring, bad breath, and gingivitis can all be caused by mouth breathing.1
For most people, it’s caused by nasal congestion. Treatment should focus on clearing it up. Others mouth breathe because of weak jaw muscles or poor breathing habits.2
Thanks to these seven remedies, you can learn how to stop mouth breathing in your sleep.
1. Peppermint Essential Oil
Feeling congested? Peppermint oil can stop mouth breathing while sleeping. Its active ingredient is menthol, a natural decongestant.3
Inhaling peppermint essential oil will do wonders. Add it to a diffuser or take a whiff from the bottle. You can also dilute five drops in one tablespoon of coconut, grapeseed, or avocado oil. Rub it on your chest instead of buying a mentholated chest rub.
Like peppermint oil, eucalyptus will prevent mouth breathing during sleep. The essential oil can be diluted in a carrier or added to a hot bath. Your local health store might even have ointments with eucalyptus in them.4
If you have fresh eucalyptus, hang a stem in your shower. The steam will release a wonderful, refreshing aroma.
A steam treatment can work just as well. To make one, boil 2 to 3 cups of water. Remove from the stove and place on a heat-resistant surface or a potholder. Wait until the steam is warm – not hot.
Hover your face over the bowl and cover your head with a towel. Breathe deeply through your nose.
For extra benefits, add 3 to 5 drops of peppermint or eucalyptus essential oils. Fresh peppermint will also do the trick. It’ll clear up nasal congestion and prevent mouth breathing while sleeping.
4. Sinus Massage
For instant congestion relief, give yourself a sinus massage. It’s free, easy, and doesn’t require any props.
Place your pointer fingers on each side of your nose. They should be at the bridge, right near your eye sockets. Massage downward in a circular motion. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
You can also massage the tip of your nose and the cheek area near it. However, if you feel any pain, stop immediately.
5. Extra Pillows
Stopping mouth breathing might be as simple as extra pillows. This will elevate your head and prevent nasal congestion. However, make sure you’re comfortable and don’t strain your neck.
6. Jaw Muscle Exercises
If you’re not congested, you might have weak jaw muscles that drop when you sleep.5 Luckily, you can tone them up with jaw exercises.
- Jaw Opener: Open your mouth as wide as you can. You should feel a stretch, not pain. Hold for 10 seconds then close. Do 10 reps.
- Side Shifter: While your mouth is open, move your jaw to the right, left, and back to center. This completes one rep. Do 10 reps.
- Kissy Face: Pucker your lips as if you were going to kiss someone on the cheek. Make your lips as pronounced as possible. Hold for 10 seconds. Do 10 reps.
7. Alternate Nostril Breathing
If everything else fails, your nose might just need a little practice. A breathing exercise will improve not only nasal breathing but your breathing overall.
- Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhan Pranayama) is an Ayurvedic technique. To start, sit in a cross-legged position and relax your body. Lengthen your spine and don’t slouch.
- Position your left hand on your left knee with the palm facing upward. You will be using your right hand.
- Place the tips of your pointer and middle fingers in between your eyebrows. On exhale, use your thumb to close the right nostril, breathing out through the left.
- Inhale through the left, then shift your fingers. Your ring and pinky fingers should close down on the left and your thumb should lift up. Exhale from the right then inhale.
- Alternate your fingers once more. Exhale from the left to complete one round. Do 10 rounds total.
During the day, breathe through your nose. Check in with yourself to make sure you aren’t breathing through your mouth. At night, focus on nasal breathing before drifting off.
|↑1||Surtel, A., R. Klepacz, and J. Wysokińska-Miszczuk. “The influence of breathing mode on the oral cavity.” Polski merkuriusz lekarski: organ Polskiego Towarzystwa Lekarskiego 39, no. 234 (2015): 405-407.|
|↑2, ↑5||Mouth Breathing on CPAP. American Sleep Apnea Association.|
|↑3||Peppermint. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑4||Eucalyptus. University of Maryland Medical Center.|