In previous blogs, we’ve gone through the technique of optimal breathing patterns and how to do deep breathing exercises, and we’ve spoken about the myriad benefits of this.
One of the important aspects of an optimal breathing pattern that we’ve mentioned is breathing through your nose. You might wonder why this is important, so below are 7 reasons why it’s better to breathe through your nose, rather than breathing through your mouth.
Reason 1- Increase your Oxygen Intake
Our nasal cavities are structured in such a way that when we breathe through our nose, it slows down the airflow. This allows the air to enter your lungs at the right speed, making it easiest for the air to get all the way to the base of your lungs. There is a concept known as the ventilation-perfusion mismatch in our lungs. We won’t go right into this here, but the basis of it is that your lungs can much more effectively extract oxygen from the air that’s getting to the base of your lungs. If you’re only breathing through your mouth, most of the air only makes it to the top parts of your lungs that are less perfused, therefore making it harder for your body to extract as much oxygen from the air.
Reason 2- Respiratory Health
Our nasal cavities also act to warm and humidify the air sufficiently before it gets to our lungs, which is important for respiratory health.
Reason 3- Fewer Toxins
There are mucosal linings in our nasal cavity, and also tiny hairs called cilia. These act to filter the air before it enters our lungs. If you breathe through your mouth, you have no way of filtering out any toxins that might be in the air before it gets to your lungs.
Reason 4- It Creates a Backflow
The lungs extract oxygen from the air not only during inhalation but also during exhalation. Because the nostrils are smaller than the mouth, air exhaled through the nose creates a back-flow of air (and oxygen) into the lungs, and because we exhale more slowly through the nose than we do through the mouth, the lungs have more time to extract oxygen from the air we’ve already taken in.
Reason 5- Preventing Neck Problems
It’s been shown that breathing through your mouth can lead to overactivity of certain muscles in the neck that contribute to forward head posture, which causes a lot of problems in the neck.
Reason 6- Optimal Tongue Positioning
Our tongue should sit at rest gently against the roof of our mouth. It’s been shown that having the tongue in this position facilitates the activity of certain deep flexor muscles of the neck. These are like the core muscles of your neck and help to maintain optimal alignment and posture. If you’re breathing through your mouth, your tongue can’t rest in this ideal position.
Reason 7- Stimulating Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems
When we breathe through our nose, nitric oxide that is produced by our sinuses is able to mix with the air as it enters our lungs. Nitric oxide has been shown to be very important in stimulating optimal function of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.
As you can see, breathing through your nose is certainly an important aspect of optimal breathing. So, with this in mind, why not try to establish new habits with your breathing?