Mouth Tape

So this whole time I thought I was “good” at sleep. Turns out, not so much. When I finally got my Oura ring, I learned that my sleep is not as restful as it could be. Despite other sleep-enhancing habits- bedtime routine, no screens, red light, blue-light blocking glasses, last meal hours before bed, etc.- I still could not remain asleep through the night. After some research, the lowest hanging fruit of possible solutions seemed to be mouth breathing.

Mouth breathing is, well, exactly that. When you breathe through your mouth instead of your nose, all kinds of problems can occur. These problems are worse when they occur during sleep.

“During mouth breathing, air is forced through the airway at a larger volume than when you breathe through your nose. And when you breathe in air at such a high volume, the collapsible airway tends to collapse.”

There are other problems associated with mouth breathing, such as allergies, asthma, snoring, dental health, and more. But my target was improving my sleep. So I came upon mouth taping. Read a few articles (linked below) and decided to give it a shot. I ordered surgical tape, but didn’t want to wait for it to arrive, so I used regular ol’ scotch tape. I taped vertically, and left the tiniest gaps on the outer edges of my mouth. My goal was to keep my mouth closed, not necessarily to seal it closed.

The results: according to oura, my best night of sleep so far. I’ve had my oura ring for a little over a month, and my first night with my mouth taped resulted in my highest sleep score to date. I can also state that I felt more rested and woke up before my alarm clock. So, if you are having difficulty sleeping, or even if you’re sleeping well (or think you are) I would give mouth taping a shot.



Evening use of light-emitting tablets may disrupt healthy sleep

A new study reveals that evening use of light-emitting tablets can induce delays in desired bedtimes, suppress secretion of melatonin (the hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness), and impair next-morning alertness.

Source: Evening use of light-emitting tablets may disrupt healthy sleep — ScienceDaily

Later school start times really do improve sleep time

A new study indicates that delaying school start times results in students getting more sleep, and feeling better, even within societies where trading sleep for academic success is common.

Source: Later school start times really do improve sleep time — ScienceDaily

Sleeping Like A Baby

Sleep is crucial for recovery from exercise, necessary for many bodily functions to remain optimal, and lack of it is the main cause of poor energy throughout the day as well as many health problems.

Cool Down

Studies have shown that a cooler environment, promotes better quality of sleep. The “magic temperature” seems to be about 70 degrees. Your internal temperature will drop when sleeping, so if your environment is warmer, energy is spent on trying to achieve equilibrium.

Stay away from the light!

No media at least 30 minutes before bed. This is two-fold. TV or checking social media will keep you from falling asleep and lower your quality. It will activate your brain and the blue light emitted from electronic devices signals your brain that it’s time to be awake (more on this in a future post). A total electronics-free period before bed is ideal, but if that doesn’t work with your life then look into blue-light blocking glasses; also apps for your phone and computer to filter out blue light.

Love and peace, man

Get your brain calmed and ready for sleep by reading some nonfiction. Also try journaling or some meditation. Try a “grateful log” or something similar. Five minutes or so of journaling is a great way to end and start the day (more on that in a future post).

Other Random Bits

A study found that in young, healthy men reducing sleep to 5 hours a night resulted in up to a 15% drop in testosterone.

Prebiotics help sleep quality and reduce the effects of stress. REM sleep is improved as well as non-rem sleep after a stressful event.

Diet can help to promote better quality of sleep. Specifically, foods that produce or increase the availability of serotonin, melotonin, and tryptophan.

Longer sleep is associated with better body composition, specifically lower BMI. Shorter sleep periods are associated with “greater adiposity (body fat), lower HDL cholesterol and a tendency to impaired glucose metabolism.”

Higher levels of omega-3 is associated with higher quality of sleep.

(I have a lot of positive things to say about omega-3, but that will be for another post.)