Mentioning that I tape my mouth shut when I go to sleep is a surefire way to perk up a conversation. But what usually begins with incredulously raised eyebrows often turns to questions about the type of tape I use (more on that later).
In general, I find it's best to breathe through the nose and leave the mouth to its more intrinsic functions of talking and chewing. When breathing through the nose, the air is warmed and cleaned by both the hair (cilia) that lines the path through which it passes, and the extreme length that pathway follows on its journey from the outside world through the nose to the lungs.
I learned this neat little hack at a party, where a friend informed me that he was taping his mouth shut when he went to sleep because he snored so loudly that his partner was threatening a move into the spare bedroom.
Snoring isn’t my problem, but I'm always in search of better sleep and health in general. I already wear an eye mask to bed (I highly recommend it), so it wasn’t a big leap to try tape.
After a little research I ended up with a standard drugstore paper tape for sensitive skin. It leaves the slightest residue that washes away with little effort.
The first night I taped my mouth was terrifying. I panicked within seconds and ripped the tape off after less than a minute. I put it back on and lasted a few minutes before the sense of panic set in again and I took it off.
It took about a week to sleep through the night and wake up with the tape still on. Now, many months later, my greatest worry is that my son wakes up before me and rips it off with a demonic chuckle.
One of the crazy things about taping my mouth shut when I sleep is that if my nose is stuffed when I get into bed at night, it clears up within a minute of taping and I begin to breathe easily. And it's actually quite calming once you get used to it.
In my ultimate pursuit of aging gracefully, I will take any shortcuts that will help me achieve that desired goal. Taping my mouth shut while I sleep is an easy and effective measure, even if it felt a pretty strange at first.
Editor's note: Consult a medical professional before taping your mouth shut to sleep.
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