"I’ll keep my mouth closed and I’ll breathe through my nose." Finn, The Very Stuffy Nose
For Parents & Teachers
Many people are unaware of the varying degrees of breathing and sleep quality. Not all breathing or sleeping patterns are beneficial. For instance, consistent mouth breathing in children during their developmental years can have detrimental effects on facial structure, airway function, and may lead to chronic congestion. This, in turn, diminishes sleep quality and can have lasting health implications. It’s crucial to take proactive measures to address congestion and promote nasal breathing. Access academic research on this topic here.
Mouth breathing often begins innocently during a cold but can evolve into a habit. Even after the cold subsides, nasal congestion may persist, complicating matters with:
Inflammation and chronic congestion significantly impact sleep quality, some of the signs of which are:
When the Airway, which is the passage air follows from the mouth or nose to the lungs, becomes obstructed, it can lead to various consequences. Mouth breathing, for instance, dries out the mouth and throat, potentially causing enlargement of the adenoids and/or tonsils, often resulting in facial development less conducive to nasal breathing. Additionally, congestion and mouth breathing during sleep can prompt the brain to release cortisol as the body reacts to decreased oxygen flow. This cycle of poor sleep can detrimentally impact a child’s development.
Some daytime effects of poor sleep include:
which may lead to an ADD/ADHD misdiagnosis.
Addressing congestion through nasal rinsing, supplemented by the use of Breathe Right strips, can enhance breathing and sleep quality, ultimately promoting a healthier lifestyle. For optimal outcomes, consider incorporating a technique highlighted in a Vogue article, where individuals utilize a small amount of Micropore tape to encourage mouth closure during sleep.
We collaborate with numerous innovative medical professionals to advocate for treating the underlying causes, providing children with the chance to prevent conditions like sleep apnea, snoring, and cardiovascular disease in their adult years.
Charting the path to your child’s Healthier Life begins with understanding their current breathing patterns. Interestingly, these habits are primarily indicated in behavioral characteristics. Some common breathing disorder behaviors include:
Common physical breathing disorder characteristics:
If you observe these physical and behavioral characteristics in your child, there are interventions available to address mouth breathing and promote nasal breathing. Oral appliances designed for nighttime wear can help prevent mouth breathing. Additionally, myofunctional therapy and breathing retraining courses, such as those facilitated by a Buteyko breathing coach, can help improve breathing.
The various methods of breathing are intricately linked to the varying levels of sleep quality. Modern lifestyles have altered our breathing patterns, leading to what is now widely termed as “Disordered Breathing.” In contrast, pre-industrial breathing practices were generally superior. Lifestyle choices and dietary habits play a significant role in shaping our airway, which currently tends to have adverse effects, evident in congestion and inflammation. These factors disrupt our sleep patterns and cognitive function, ultimately impeding our overall development and behavior, as well as our opportunities and quality of life. How we breathe directly influences our sleep quality, and consequently, our way of life.
At Super Breathers, our mission is to raise awareness and provide education to parents and healthcare providers about the distinctions between mouth and nose breathing in children, the interconnectedness of breathing and sleep, and the profound impact of sleep on health and development. We aim to guide you towards resources for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment options.
Here’s a brief history:
Before the industrial revolution, our diet mainly consisted of unprocessed foods like nuts and dried meats, which required chewing. This chewing activity, starting around 6 months of age, helped to strengthen our jaws, resulting in a wide and spacious dental arch capable of accommodating all 32 teeth. Consequently, there was less need for orthodontic intervention. However, today’s soft diet lacks the same demand on our jaw muscles, leading to the development of a narrow dental arch and a high palate. A higher palate makes it difficult for the tongue to maintain suction and proper positioning on the roof of the mouth, resulting in a low tongue posture. Since the roof of the mouth is also the floor of the nose, a pushed-up palate can obstruct nasal breathing and contribute to conditions like a deviated septum. Children with a low tongue posture and a constricted nasal cavity often compensate by breathing through their mouths, a habit that can be exacerbated by tongue-ties or allergies.
Persistent mouth breathing can lead to inflammation of the tonsils and adenoids, often resulting in:
- Sleep disordered breathing (SDB)
- Sleep apnea
- Excessive sweating, among other symptoms
If left untreated, these issues can persist into adulthood, potentially leading to:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Dependency on a CPAP machine for restful sleep
A child’s distinct physical and behavioral breathing characteristics offer valuable insights into the most effective protocols for addressing their fragmented sleep or Sleep-Disordered Breathing (SDB). Fortunately, with appropriate interventions, both breathing and sleep quality can significantly and simultaneously improve.
Common behavioral indicators of SDB include:
- Excessive energy before bedtime
- Heavy nighttime sweating
- Restless sleep
- Frequent waking during the night
- Nightmares and night terrors
The repercussions of poor-quality sleep extend throughout the day, manifesting as congestion, inflammation, and restlessness.
Restorative sleep is categorized into four different stages, each crucial for overall well-being. Refer to the “There’s a lot going on during sleep” slide in Sharon Moore’s book, “Sleep Wrecked Kids,” for more detailed information.
Practicing good sleep hygiene is essential for ensuring a restful night’s sleep. Examples of sleep hygiene practices include:
- Rinsing sinuses with a saline rinse
- Using Breathe Right strips
- Limiting exposure to blue light before bedtime
- Ensuring the bedroom is completely dark and cool
- Utilizing an oral appliance for nasal breathing retraining, promoting proper tongue posture, and maintaining lip seal
Increasing awareness about the significance of mouth versus nose breathing reflects a growing acknowledgment of individual responsibility concerning lifestyle choices and their outcomes. With a foundational understanding of healthy breathing and sleeping practices, individuals can proactively take steps to mitigate their risk of conditions such as apnea, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and dementia.
The cornerstone of a healthier life lies in addressing the root causes of inflammation, congestion, and mouth breathing, alongside implementing adjustments to enhance restorative sleep quality.
To kickstart your journey towards better breathing and improved sleep, consider taking the following steps:
2. Set Up a Dental Appointment: Arrange a dental appointment with a dentist who is knowledgeable about screening for airway and sleeping disorders. Many dental offices collaborate with Myofunctional therapists. Alternatively, you can locate a local Myofunctional therapist and request a referral to a dentist.
3. Explore Myofunctional Therapy: Gain a better understanding of Myofunctional Therapy, a valuable approach to addressing breathing and sleep issues. Additionally, consider downloading the Oxygen Advantage app to begin incorporating breathing exercises into your routine.
4. Recommended Reading: Delve deeper into the topics discussed on this page by exploring recommended reading materials. These books offer valuable insights into improving breathing and optimizing sleep quality.
5. Recommended Products: Discover products that have been proven effective in enhancing breathing and sleep optimization through our recommended list.
Taking these steps can pave the way for significant improvements in your breathing patterns and sleep quality, ultimately contributing to your overall well-being.