First For Women
Mouth breathing is exhausting millions of women
70% of women breathe through their mouth rather than their
nose. This significantly reduces nitric oxide, a substance produced in nasal passages that increases oxygen delivery to the lungs, says Ron Sinha, M.D., an internal medicine specialist in Palo Alto, California. “By breathing through your mouth, you limit oxygen delivery to your lungs.” This causes carbon dioxide levels to drop, so oxygen isn’t released as easily to your body’s tissues. During the day, mouth breathing can trigger fatigue, and at night, it raises the risk of snoring, which worsens exhaustion.
Adding to the problem: Mouth breathers tend to carry their head in a forward posture in an effort to get more air into the lungs. This puts extra tension on muscles and joints in the head and neck that can trigger pain.
Doctors typically diagnose mouth breathing based on symptoms, as well as the presence of problems like allergies, sinusitis and polyps that can impair nasal breathing. If your doctor determines you can breathe through your nose freely, the steps below can help restore energy.
Taking ‘belly breaths’ retrains the body to restore nasal breathing.
To do: Sit up in a relaxed position with one hand on your chest and one on your belly. With your mouth closed, inhale slowly through your nose so your stomach expands against your hand (your other hand won’t move), then exhale slowly through your nose so your belly goes back to its original position. Repeat for 2 to 3 minutes a few times a day.
Try nasal rinsing. It eases blockages caused by mucus and inflammation that encourage mouth breathing. Dr. Sinha advises using a neti pot filled with saline solution daily.