Benefits of nose breathing
Most people breathe without really thinking about it, right? We do it automatically, without making a conscious effort. However, it is vital to consider how you breathe. Paying attention to the technique that you use will make a big difference in terms of your overall health and wellbeing. The reason for this is that it is actually a lot healthier to breathe through your nose rather than breathing through your mouth, and this is something we will discuss in full in this blog post.
Of course, you may not even know whether you usually breathe through your nose or mouth. It has been estimated that between 30 and 50 per cent of adults actually breathe through their mouths, especially during the morning. This could result in a number of different medical problems, for example, dry mouth and bad breath.
Breathing through your nose (a.k.a nasal breathing) is a natural process and a necessary function for us to survive. There are many benefits from breathing through the nose that have been scientifically proven.
-A majority of people feel more energized after nasal irrigation because it increases oxygen intake.
-The air you breathe out of your mouth contains 2 to 3 million bacteria. But when you breathe through your nose, it filters out many of these dangerous elements before they reach the lungs.
-Respiratory problems such as asthma and snoring can be alleviated by nose breathing. This is because when we breathe in through our noses, our nasal passages help warm up the air before it reaches the lungs where this process continues to occur once inside the body. Nose breathing also reduces swelling in the mucous membranes which further helps with breathing issues like snoring and asthma.
-Nose breathing stimulates certain nerves that alter hormone production and lower stress levels; increasing recovery time from physical activity and reducing anxiety after a stressful event or prolonged exposure.
-Studies show that taking deep nasal breaths increases growth hormones which benefit metabolism.
-Nose breathing increases the amount of oxygen you receive, which is vital for muscle function and overall organ health. It also helps build antibodies in your body to fight infection.
-The nose is directly connected to the brain through our cranial nerve system. This makes it easier for us to breathe, smell, taste and even speak at a more optimal level.
– One study shows that nasal breathing offers longevity benefits because nasal stimulation triggers an improved immune response that fights toxins within the body better than mouth breathing does.
Understanding the difference between breathing through your mouth and your nose
Before we take a look at the specific benefits that are associated with nose breathing, it makes sense to consider the difference between both options.
Let’s start with mouth breathing. Your mouth helps you to talk, drink, and eat. You can also use your mouth for breathing, yet it does not have most of the unique features that your nose does in terms of breathing.
Of course, there are some instances whereby it is a necessity for you to breath through your mouth. You may need to breathe through your mouth if you have a deviated septum, small nostrils, or nasal congestion.
On the flip side, one of the negatives of breathing through your mouth is that you will lose moisture, which can cause you to have a dry mouth. It can also heighten your risk of teeth or jaw abnormalities, sleep apnoea, snoring, gingivitis (gum inflammation), tooth decay, bad breath, asthma, allergic reactions to allergens, and inhaling unfiltered air.
Nose breathing, on the other hand, has been designed to help you breathe in the correct, efficient, and safer manner. This is achieved in a number of different ways. Firstly, breathing through your nose enables you to filter out foreign particles. Your nose hairs will filter out pollen, allergens, and dust, which will stop them from entering your lungs.
Another benefit of breathing through your nose is that it will humidify inhaled air. Your nose will warm and moisturise the air that you breathe in. This means that the air that you inhale will be brought to body temperature, which makes it a lot easier for your lungs to utilise.
If that was not enough, another important part of the process is the creation of nitric oxide. When you breathe through your nose, your nose will release nitric oxide, which you may sometimes see abbreviated to NO. NO is a vasodilator, which means it assists in terms of widening your blood vessels. This can help aid your body’s oxygen circulation.
What are the benefits of breathing through your nose?
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the difference between breathing through your nose and breathing through your mouth. There are some clear benefits that are associated with the former, particularly when you consider the fact that the purpose of your nose is to help you breathe.
Nose breathing is considered advantageous in many different ways. Some of the benefits include the fact that your nasal cavities can:
- Support the proper formation of your mouth and teeth
- Reduce your risk of snoring and sleep apnoea
- Aid your immune system
- Lower your risk of coughing
- Lower your risk of hay fever and allergies
- Help your diaphragm to work correctly
- Enhance your lung volume
- Slow down breathing
- Boost oxygen uptake and circulation
- Increase airflow to your nerves, veins, and arteries
- Warm and humidify inhaled air
- Lower exposure to foreign substances
Try out some nose breathing exercises and experience the benefits
To improve your nose breathing, trying out different breathing exercises makes a lot of sense. These approaches could also assist in terms of relieving anxiety and stress, boosting respiratory muscle strength, and enhancing your lung function.
A good exercise to start off with is nadishodhana, otherwise known as alternate nostril breathing. If you practice yoga, you may be familiar with this technique.
During this technique, you will inhale through one nostril, and then you exhale through the other nostril. You simply use your finger to close the opposite nostril.
Not only will this exercise help you in terms of efficiently breathing through your nose, but it is excellent for boosting mindfulness as well, and it may also be able to lower stress and improve your lung function.
So, let’s take you through the steps to follow.
- Start off by sitting up tall and making sure your shoulders are relaxed
- Place your left hand on the top of your left knee
- Next, place your right thumb over your right nostril, so that it is closed
- Inhale into your left nostril
- Next, place your right ring finger on your left nostril
- Exhale via your right nostril
- Now, we’re going to switch sides – so you need to inhale through your right nostril, i.e. the one you have just exhaled via, so there’s no need to move your finger
- Return your right thumb to your right nostril
- Exhale through your left nostril
This is one set, and you will want to repeat it for a few minutes.
Final words on breathing through your nose
As you can see, there are a number of different benefits that are associated with breathing through your nose. As your nose was specifically designed to aid with your breathing, it makes sense to focus on breathing through your nose. From lowering your risk to sleep apnoea to giving your immune system a boost, there are plenty of different benefits associated with this, and these are benefits that can help to boost everyone’s wellbeing, no matter how young or old you may be.