Do you know these nose breathing benefits?
Did you know we receive many nose breathing benefits to support our overall health compared to inhaling and/or exhaling through your mouth? Each day, on average we breathe between 12-20 times each minute during normal activities, which means we move air between 17,280 and 28,800 times each day. How we move the air can change which aspects of our nervous system are functioning strongest.
In many of my yoga classes, I have referenced breathing through the nose instead of the mouth to recalibrate our nervous system away from Sympathetic or “Fight or Flight” activation, and bring us back to a Parasympathetic or “Rest and Digest” state, which I also refer to as the “Awe, Wonder and Healing” state of being. This post references a few articles that describe benefits of nose versus mouth breathing, including an amazing piece written by John Douillard, including relevant published citations.
4 Articles Describing Nose Breathing Benefits
Unsung Health Benefits of Nose Breathing by John Douillard on April 6, 2015
- “In my study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, we found that deep nose breathing would increase parasympathetic activity while simultaneously decreasing sympathetic activity (the “fight or flight” response) during exercise.”
- “Nose breathing exercise forces the body to breathe deeply, and thus activates the parasympathetic nervous system naturally while upper chest, shallow, mouth breathing activates a stressful fight or flight response.”
- “During deep nose breathing exercise (nasal breathing exercise), the elasticity of the rib cage improves over time, allowing for deep nose breathing to be maintained at rest throughout the day.”
- “Nose breathing boosts nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a powerful immune-boosting molecule that is produced in the sinuses during nose (not mouth) breathing.”
- “Nose breathing activates the vagus nerve, which triggers the rest, digest, and de-stress nervous system response.”
- This article includes 5 great citations to explore further.
Breathing is Believing: The Importance of Nasal Breathing by Gwen Lawrence on August 14, 2017
- In the nose, we have cilia (tiny hairs) that trap particles in the air, as well warm/cool the air to control the temperature of the air entering the lungs. We also produce mucous in the throat that also aims to trap particles before they reach our lungs.
- “Breathing in and out through the nose helps us take fuller, deeper breaths, which stimulates the lower lung to distribute greater amounts of oxygen throughout the body. Also, the lower lung is rich with the parasympathetic nerve receptors associated with calming the body and mind, whereas the upper lungs — which are stimulated by chest and mouth breathing — prompt us to hyperventilate and trigger sympathetic nerve receptors, which result in the fight or flight reaction.”
- “The lungs actually extract oxygen from the air during exhalation, in addition to inhalation. Because the nostrils are smaller than the mouth, air exhaled through the nose creates a back flow of air (and oxygen) into the lungs. And because we exhale more slowly through the nose than we do though the mouth, the lungs have more time to extract oxygen from the air we’ve already taken in.”
- “Our nostrils and sinuses filter and warm/cool air as it enters our bodies.”
- “Our sinuses produce nitric oxide, which, when carried into the body through the breath, combats harmful bacteria and viruses in our bodies, regulates blood pressure and boosts the immune system.”
- “Mouth breathing accelerates water loss, contributing to dehydration.”
Mouth Breathing vs. Nasal Breathing by Jae Allen on August 14, 2017
- “When you breathe through your mouth, your brain is tricked into thinking that carbon dioxide is escaping the body too quickly. This stimulates the production of mucous, as the body attempts to slow the breathing.”
- “Exhaling through the nose, which is smaller than the mouth, creates greater air pressure and therefore a slower exhalation. This gives the lungs extra time to extract a greater amount of oxygen.”
- “Breathing through the mouth is inefficient, however, and leads to hyperventilation” or over-breathing.
- “Additionally, the nostrils and sinuses play a part in filtering and warming the air that is inhaled into the lungs. This filtering effect is helpful in keeping bacteria and particles out of your body. When exercising in chilly weather, breathing through the nose prevents cold air from going straight to your lungs and causing chest and throat pain.”
How to Correct Mouth Breathing by Nicole Vulcan on August 14, 2017
- Suggestion One – Create a new habit by reminding yourself
- Suggestion Two – The “Buteyko” method, which has been described as a complementary technique to support people with asthma, as well as a technique to “promote nose-breathing and taking in an effective amount of air.” The technique includes conscious practices of breath retention, intending to retrain the breathing pattern.
- Suggestion Three – Sinus cleansing with a nasal saline spray or with a neti pot. Personal note: Please do NOT use Afrin or similar products.
- Suggestion Four – Investigate allergens in your home, including where your pets might sleep
- Suggestion Five – Practice regular exercise and aerobic conditioning activities