It’s true that breathing well is one of the most essential pieces of wellness. A healthy, open airway can affect your sleep and your overall whole health. If you struggle with fatigue, stress, insomnia, sleep apnea, or other health problems, you may find that an airway-centered disorder is at the root of it all.
We want you to be able to sleep and breathe well, so we at Bloom - Center for Sleep and Airway Health have compiled a list of Dr. Liz’s top 10 sleep and airway tips. These will help you create good sleep and breathing habits to start you on your journey to better health.
1. Breathe through your nose!
Nasal breathing warms, purifies, and humidifies the air we breathe. It also increases the oxygen-carrying capacity of our blood and releases nitric oxide — which has many health benefits!
2. Limit blue light in the evening.
We don’t want to disrupt our natural circadian rhythm! Melatonin, which makes us feel sleepy, is interrupted by blue light, tricking our body into thinking it’s a different time of day. Use blue-light-blocking glasses or put those devices away!
3. Is your nightguard making you sleep poorly?
Studies show your nightguard could be contributing to sleep apnea and sleep-disordered breathing. It’s important to know you’re using the right nightguard for your distinct teeth anatomy.
4. Clear the nose.
Using a saline rinse or xylitol-based rinse can help you breathe through the nose easier. If you’re still not able to breathe freely through it, get evaluated by a specialist!
5. Stick to a sleep schedule.
Try to go to bed and get up at a consistent time. If you’re needing more than eight hours of sleep, there’s a good chance you’re not getting adequate “restful and restorative” sleep. Also, if you have trouble falling or staying asleep, consider a sleep evaluation to find out why!
6. Don’t go to bed too hungry or too full, and be cautious about caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine use.
These can all be factors in sleep and breathing! Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants, and alcohol is a depressant.
7. Ever lay down and can’t calm that mind that’s racing?
8. Clenching and grinding your teeth at night?
It is important we ask WHY! Many times it’s related to tongue posture or breathing issues. The tongue should LIVE in the roof of the mouth. If it can’t, it leads to mouth breathing, which impacts sleep. It also can block the airway, or if not resting high, can cause the lower jaw to block the airway. Talk to us about myofunctional therapy.
9. Dry mouth at night?
Lip taping could be for you! First, we need to make sure it’s safe. For example, if you have any difficulty taping vertically across your lips for 3 minutes while you’re awake, don’t attempt taping at night! But if you’re able to, this allows your mouth to stay hydrated and promotes nasal breathing!
10. Snoring isn’t normal!
Snoring is a major red flag for sleep-disordered breathing. Around 90 million Americans snore! It is important to have an evaluation to make sure something dangerous isn’t going on beneath the surface.
Although these 10 sleep and airway tips are a great place to start, the road to better health doesn’t stop here. If you’d like to get a personalized treatment plan for your unique situation, schedule a consultation with our sleep and airway specialist here.