Why Taping Your Mouth Can Improve Your Sleep

There's no shortage of sleep hacks out there to help you get better rest. You're probably aware of how avoiding screen time before bed and getting enough sleep can help you wake refreshed. But there's one hack one you may not have heard of, and it may be just the one you need. It's called mouth taping, and that's exactly what you do: tape your mouth while you sleep.

Taping your mouth might sound a little extreme or bizarre, but some people claim that it improves sleep. Dr. Mark Burhenne, a family and sleep medicine dentist in Sunnyvale, California, explained to Everyday Health that nasal breathing increases nitric oxide production in the sinuses. This is important because nitric oxide is linked to "reduced inflammation, improved sleep, improved memory, and an overall increase in immune system function." Burhenne also said that breathing through the nose leaves you feeling more rested when you wake up.

Mouth taping may increase REM and brain development

Lauri Leadley, CCSH, president and clinical sleep educator of Valley Sleep Center told Mind Body Green that taping your mouth shut may increase rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is essential to emotional processing, memory, and brain development (via Sleep Foundation). A closed mouth while sleeping also prevents unwanted bacteria from getting inside, and that may result in better dental hygiene.

If you want to give mouth taping a try, the good news is that you can get started with an inexpensive roll of surgical or paper tape. Simply place a small section of tape over your mouth at bedtime. Mind Body Green recommends applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly on your lips before applying the tape to avoid any discomfort.

While some people may benefit from mouth taping, it might not be for everyone. People who do not get enough air through their nasal passages or those who have trouble breathing through their nose might want to speak with their doctor about any concerns (via Mind Body Green).