Mouth Taping for Sleep
7 min read
Last Modified 7 November 2022 First Added 2 November 2022
Starting out as a viral TikTok trend, many people have been sharing their positive experiences with taping their mouths shut at night. This forces you to breathe through your nose and keeps your mouth closed all night. To most people, this seems crazy. Some even wonder, what’s the point? But there are some unexpected benefits to breathing through your mouth instead of your nose.
Mammals, like humans, are designed to primarily breathe through their noses, which is known as obligate nasal breathing. So mouth breathing is a habit formed by people who find it more difficult. Some of the most common reasons for mouth breathing are:
In these cases, there is a physical reason why someone may not be able to breathe properly through their mouth. If this is the case, mouth taping will likely be more dangerous than helpful, and you should consult a doctor to discuss further remedies.
However, if it is a habit you’ve picked up without thinking about it – you may want to correct it sooner rather than later.
There are a surprising number of unpleasant side effects of breathing through your mouth. You have probably experienced these already, particularly when you have a cold or sleep on your back. These include:
If you find that you wake up with a very dry mouth or need to drink water during the night, it’s probably because your mouth hangs open while you sleep. This is one of the ways that taping can help.
However, there are some more serious side effects of mouth breathing, you may not know about:
So, how can taping your mouth shut help with sleep? Well, if you have no physical issues with breathing, it can help with some of the more inconvenient side effects.
Some people claim that mouth taping can help you breathe deeper and therefore, become more relaxed and sleep better. If you have clear airways, then this may be true as your body naturally prioritises nose breathing over mouth breathing. It can also regulate your breathing so you are more likely to breathe slower and take even deep breaths. This is linked to lower blood pressure, which means you are more relaxed, more likely to sleep deeper, and get more restful sleep.
It can also stop you from getting a dry mouth and drooling, which can dehydrate you and cause you to wake up for a drink in the middle of the night. People report broken or disturbed sleep nearly 4 times a week on average, which can really affect your overall mental health and energy levels.
One of the big benefits touted is the fact that if you tape your mouth shut, you can’t snore. Snoring affects both your and your sleep partner’s sleep quality. Even if you don’t wake up because of the noise, snoring is often a symptom of a deeper issue such as sleep apnoea, so needs to be addressed by a doctor.
Sometimes, snoring is caused by your sleep position, so taping your mouth can help there. Even if you roll onto your back, you’ll be forced to breathe through your nose and will move if this is uncomfortable.
Currently, there are no official guidelines on how to tape safely. We can only observe what works for other people.
Before you do this, here are some important things to consider:
You shouldn’t use just any tape. It’s definitely not recommended to use anything with a strong adhesive like duct tape as this is difficult to remove in an emergency and will irritate your mouth.
The best tape to use is skin-safe tape such as medical, microporous tape. This will keep your mouth closed but is easy to remove if you need to and will be kinder on your skin as the material is hypoallergenic for most people.
Naturally, there are lots of concerns about taping your mouth shut. It is not a standard medical practice that doctors recommend for patients with sleep issues, therefore, there is still some research to be done on the practicality and safety. We are mostly hearing anecdotal evidence from people’s own experiences. What are some of the potential dangers?
It is very important to determine why you are breathing through your mouth and if you have a bigger, underlying issue with your airways. If you already have an obstructed nasal passage, then this can’t be fixed by forcing yourself to breathe through it. So, before you try this, test your nose breathing and don’t try this if you have congestion.
There is no evidence that you can suffocate because of taping your mouth shut if you can breathe through your nose. However, this is why it is extremely important to test your airways and to use tape that is easily removed.
If you’re not used to breathing through your nose, it can feel weird to do so. While most people can breathe fine, there is a chance you will feel like you’re not getting enough oxygen, especially if you’re concentrating on your breathing.
Again, the best way to combat this is to do a trial run awake. We would recommend trying some breathing or relaxation exercises to get yourself used to only using your nose.
As mentioned, one issue with tape is that it can irritate the skin around your mouth, which is uncomfortable and doesn’t look great! If you don’t use skin-safe tape or have difficulties removing the tape, it can cause redness and soreness.
If you are interested in fixing issues such as drooling and snoring but aren’t sure that mouth tape is the solution for you, there are alternatives.