Health News

Do you breathe more out of your nose or mouth? Here’s why it matters

Paying attention to the way you breathe can offer a whole host of benefits. Here’s how to get started.

Breathing is one of those things we all do without thinking. On average, we breathe in and out about 20,000 times a day – the majority of which happen without any conscious effort.

However, taking time to think about your breathing can make a big difference. Of course, the central purpose of breathing is to supply oxygen to the body and get rid of carbon dioxide. But our breathing – in particular, the way we breathe – can also impact everything from our blood pressure and heart rate to our stress and energy levels.

While there are plenty of ways to tap into the power of your breath, one of the simplest things you can do to improve your breathing is to pay attention to where you’re breathing from. Breathing through your nose or mouth might not feel that different, but making a conscious effort to breathe through your nose can offer a whole host of benefits.   

“When breathing through your nose you optimise the air arriving in your lungs and slow your breathing to a rate where your body and mind perform at its best,” explains Stuart Sandeman, a breathwork expert and author of the book Breathe In, Breathe Out: Restore Your Health, Reset Your Mind, And Find Happiness Through Breathwork.

As well as acting as a filter that cleans and humidifies the air entering your body, the shape of the nose helps to provide resistance, which in turn actively slows down your breathing rate – something which is important for your health.  

Practising slow breathing can also make you feel calm, relaxed and balanced, Sandeman adds. “This is why it’s important to try to breathe through your nose as much as you can,” he says. “Your mouth should only be used in emergencies, because the gasp you naturally take through your mouth in moments like that rings the alarm bell to your body and mind to engage your muscles and get to safety.

“However, if you’re breathing through your mouth habitually then you’re ringing those alarm bells in your brain all day, which in turn can affect your energy, mood, sleep, digestion, immune system, face shape and more.” 

Stuart Sandeman is a breathwork expert and author of Breathe In, Breathe Out.

Of course, you don’t want to spend all day thinking about how you’re breathing – but if you want to train yourself to breathe through your nose subconsciously, there is a simple trick you can try. Warning: it may seem a bit strange, but Sandeman swears by it.

“The way I help people breathe through their nose often raises eyebrows at first, but it’s the most effective way of doing it – tape your mouth,” Sandeman says. “I’m not talking about sellotape or tape that’s too sticky – just take one strip of micropore medical tape, which is available in most pharmacies, and try it for thirty seconds. See how you feel, and build it up from there.”

Sandeman adds: “Of course, if your nose is blocked due to a structural issue, it’s worth checking in with your doctor.” 

How to practise nose breathing

Ready to reap the benefits of nose breathing? Check out this simple nose breathing exercise from Breathe In, Breathe Out to get you started. 

  • If you have some micropore tape, pop a piece over your mouth.
  • Breathe in through your nose for one, two, three, four, five.
  • Let your nose clean, moisturise and warm the air.
  • And breathe out: one, two, three, four, five.
  • Let your system balance and your mind become calm.
  • Breathe in: one, two, three, four, five.
  • And breathe out: one, two, three, four, five.
  • Once again …
  • Breathe in: one, two, three, four, five.
  • And breathe out: one, two, three, four, five.

Breathe In, Breathe Out: Restore Your Health, Reset Your Mind, And Find Happiness Through Breathwork by Stuart Sandeman (published by HQ) is out now

Images: Getty; courtesy of HQ

Source: Read Full Article