My Sleep Secret - The One Product I Can't Live Without!
I have never really struggled with my sleep.
I could easily sleep for 9-10 hours a night, but often wake up feeling refreshed after 8 hours.
It wasn't until I got my Oura ring several months ago that I realised that my sleep wasn't that great after all.
What I love about the Oura ring is that it tracks your sleep stages throughout the night and also allows you put it on 'airplane mode' which emits a lot less electromagnetic frequency (EMF) than many of the other tracking gadgets.
(This post isn't sponsored btw, I just love my Oura!)
I was shocked when I saw that my sleep was very broken and I was unknowingly waking up multiple times (like 5-7) every night!
Because I know just how important high quality sleep is for healthy hormones, immunity, brain function, cellular repair and insulin sensitivity, I immediately began researching what the hell could be causing this issue!
I was only waking up to urinate once, other than that, I thought I was out cold the entire night.
Here are a few screenshots from the Oura app, representing a 'typical' nights sleep for me just a couple of weeks ago...
As you can see from these images, I wasn't going more than a few hours without waking up, which was really disrupting my sleep cycles.
After doing some research, I discovered that some of the most common causes of restless sleep and constant waking are things such as chronic stress (HPA dysfunction), gut infections and blood sugar fluctuations.
But the problem was, that I already had all those things dialled in!
I was meditating, taking adaptogens, caring for my gut and stabilising my blood sugar levels with plenty of high quality protein and fat at every meal?!
It didn't make sense.
After several more hours digging into scientific research, stalking the Oura ring Facebook group and reading multiple blogs and articles, I came across something that many people have had major success with...
Initially, I thought it sounded absolutely crazy.
But what if I stop breathing?
Has anyone died doing this?
How the hell could taping your mouth improve your sleep anway?
But the more I looked into it, the more it made sense.
As humans, we are designed to breathe primarily through our nose, however a lot of us mouth breathe, especially during the night.
This can not only lead to snoring, sleep apnea, sore throat, nasal congestion and dry mouth, but possibly lower immunity and reduced blood oxygen saturation!
When we breathe through our nose, this sends a signal to our body that we are 'safe' and relaxed. This puts us in the parasympathetic nervous system state (rest & digest), rather than the sympathetic nervous system state (fight or flight), which is characterised by shallow mouth breathing.
Our breath is one of the only ways we can change the state of our nervous system, as it is largely autonomic (involuntary). Hence why yoga, meditation and breathing exercises work so well in decreasing levels of stress hormones.
Nose breathing can help to lower your heart rate, adrenaline levels and also improve blood oxygen levels, which can result in deeper sleep!
It can also help if you have asthma or allergies as the nose is able to filter the air particles as it passes through, whereas the mouth passage doesn't.
Our jaw structure, teeth and airways are also related to our sleep. I have quite a narrow jaw which lead to me having 5 teeth removed and braces as a teenager. I believe this may have played a role in my sleep quality over the years.
One woman in the Facebook group reached out to me and asked if I had ever had any dental or orthodontic work done, which I had!
(If you want to dig into these connection further, I recommend you look into the work of Weston A. Price and also check out the book 'Jaws - The Story of a Hidden Epidemic'. )
I also saw that Mike Mutzel of 'High Intensity Health', was a huge fan of mouth taping, and recommended the specific product Somnifix. I completely trust and respect his advice, so I had to give it a try!
Somnifix has been designed to fit the lips, is hypoallergenic and also very easy to remove. It does actually have a tiny breathing vent in the middle so that you can breathe through your mouth if needed and it will come off quickly if you open your mouth.
(No, Somnifix aren't paying me to write this either)
Before purchasing Somnifix, I did try using microporous tape to try and save some money, however it left sticky marks on my lips, wouldn't cover my mouth in one piece and would fall off during the night.
I decided to go ahead and purchase a box of this mouth tape (I got mine on Amazon), and let me tell you, this has been a game-changer for me!
Here's the proof...
As you can see, my deep sleep has increased by an extra 30-45 minutes a night! I mean, it wasn't too bad to begin with, however I'm loving the additional restorative/brain cleansing/healing time I've been getting!
The biggest difference is my restfulness, and now I'm only waking up once or twice a night! A massive improvement.
I even experimented by not using my mouth tape for 2 nights in a row, and surprise, surprise, I unknowingly woke up multiple times and my sleep score dropped 10+ points.
Safe to say that I will be 'sticking' with my mouth tape for the foreseeable future. (Pun intended)
If you think this sounds too whacky or you think you sleep fine, I urge you to give it a try and see! Obviously, if you are suffering with a health condition that affects your breathing or airways, speak to your Doctor before trying this. But for the rest of you, there's nothing to lose!