Just like breathing, sleep 💤 is essential. You spend ⅓ of your life sleeping. Without quality sleep your brain functions will suffer and you’ll have difficulty learning, creating new memories, concentrating and responding quickly to what’s going on around you.¹
Sleep brings to mind snoring. During sleep, the muscles around the throat loosen causing the airways to narrow. The snoring sound is created by turbulent air flow through the narrow passages of the nose, mouth, or back of the throat causing the tissues to vibrate. Snoring can lead to obstructive sleep apnea — topic of part 2 — a more severe sleep disorder where breathing stops involuntarily for a few seconds during sleep.
There are two causes at play here:
Too much air is coming into the airway 💨
The airway is too narrow 🥤
Imagine drinking using a paper straw. If you suck too hard, the straw will collapse making drinking problematic.
Fast, hard breathing will cause turbulence in the upper airway sucking the tissues inward and causing vibrations. This will lead to snoring.
Your breathing pattern during the day affects your breathing during sleep.
💠If you’re a mouth breather, too much air is entering through your mouth. Closing your mouth is the first step to achieving better sleep. A little tape on your lips might be enough to remind you to close your mouth during the day and at night.
💠If you're a nose breather and believe you have narrow airways, a nose dilator or seeing a specialist will be beneficial.
💠If you're a nose breather during the day and a snorer at night, then practicing conscious slow breathing will reduce the air turbulence, stop your snoring and improve your sleep quality.
Better sleep means better physical and mental health. If your sleep is dismal, you’ll get into an unpleasant cycle: feeling tired and anxious over an extended period of time will lead to more problems with sleep. The long term effects of lack of sleep have been associated with hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, and stroke. Research has shown that sleep disorders negatively impact overall well-being.²
Stay healthy, stay happy.