Mouth Breathing When Sleeping – Symptoms and Treatments

Many people living in Los Angeles and Las Vegas experience sleep issues, and those issues frequently come from difficulty breathing through the nose. Mouth breathing can affect the quality of your rest at night, and it’s often a sign of other issues that could lead to sleep apnea and similar conditions.

Fortunately, mouth breathing can be treated. The following information can help you figure out if you might need mouth breathing treatments.

What Causes Mouth Breathing?

Mouth breathing frequently results from factors that restrict breathing through the nose, though other conditions may also contribute to it. Some of the conditions that lead to mouth breathing include:

  • Nasal congestion and allergies
  • Enlarged adenoids or tonsils at the back of the nose, which can restrict nasal airflow
  • Nasal polyps, or growths inside your nose
  • Tumors
  • Deviated nasal septum (the divider between your nostrils)
  • Tongue tie, which is a medical condition that keeps your mouth from closing properly
  • Thumb sucking as a child, which could affect the development of the mouth and face

These factors may cause people to develop a habit of breathing through their mouth instead of their nose, and that habit can linger long after its root cause has been resolved. Also, nasal congestion and similar issues can become more pronounced while you’re lying down, making mouth breathing more likely to occur while you sleep.

Common Mouth Breathing Symptoms

It can be hard to determine if you normally breathe through your mouth, especially if it occurs when you’re asleep. Some mouth breathing symptoms to look for include:

  • Dry mouth and hoarseness, especially when you wake up
  • Bad breath
  • Snoring
  • Brain fog due to poor rest
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability upon waking
  • Drool on pillows

If you notice these signs, you may be mouth breathing while you’re asleep at night, in which case it’s important to get in touch with an ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT).

Impact of Mouth Breathing Vs. Nose Breathing

Why does mouth breathing matter? The human respiratory system is designed for nasal breathing, which means mouth breathing could affect your overall health and wellbeing.

Importance of Nose Breathing

Nasal breathing benefits your body in a number of ways, including:

  • Filtering out particles and contaminants through nasal hairs
  • Moistening air as it enters your body, which the mouth doesn’t do
  • Regulating temperature, bringing incoming air to body temperature before it enters your lungs
  • Creating smoother airflow through the upper respiratory system

Research involving fMRI scans of the brain also indicates that nose breathing may be better for cognitive function than mouth breathing. Nasal breathing is also used in meditative exercises, so it may have a calming effect on the mind as well.

Impact of Mouth Breathing on Children

Mouth breathing can be especially detrimental when it comes to children. It can lead to developmental changes that have lifelong effects, including changes in oral and facial tissues. Studies indicate that children who breathe through their mouths have forward-angled upper teeth and larger gaps between their lips, making it harder to get a good seal when the mouth is shut.

Other problems may result, including dental problems, speech impediments, and flatter facial features, to name a few.

Addressing Mouth Breathing

Owing to the detrimental effects that mouth breathing can have on your health, it’s important to address it if it’s occurring. The symptoms and causes of mouth breathing could lead to additional problems, including poorer dental health, an increased incidence of upper respiratory diseases (like colds), and obstructive sleep apnea, which has its own host of potential complications attached.

How to Stop Mouth Breathing While Sleeping

Fortunately, there are ways to stop breathing through your mouth, including professional treatments that can address the root cause.

If your mouth breathing habits are less severe, some lifestyle changes may help, such as:

  • Propping up your head while you sleep
  • Exercising
  • Losing weight
  • Practicing breathing through your nose
  • Practicing stress reduction techniques, such as meditation or yoga

However, if the structure of your sinuses is what is causing your mouth breathing, you’ll want professional treatment to address it. For instance, Los Angeles and Las Vegas residents can benefit from visiting with Dr. Kayem to receive sinus treatments, such as:

If you think you might have a problem with mouth breathing, it’s worthwhile to get it checked out by an experienced ENT. Dr. Kayem treats patients of all ages in Southern California and Vegas, and he’s well known for his warm and accessible manner. To set an appointment, contact LA Sinus and Snoring today.

Mouth Breathing FAQs

How common is mouth breathing?

According to one survey, about 61% of adults in the U.S. self-identify as mouth breathers, making it highly common.

Is it normal to breathe through your mouth?

While it’s common, mouth breathing is not actually normal under most circumstances. Your body is designed to breathe through your nose, so mouth breathing when sleeping is often a sign that something is wrong.

Why do I sleep with my mouth open?

It may be a habit developed from childhood, or it could be related to obstructions in your nasal passages, such as a deviated septum or nasal polyps.

How do I breathe through my nose instead of mouth while sleeping?

Lifestyle changes can help in mild cases, as can practicing breathing through your nose during the day. However, sometimes medical treatments may be necessary. Dr. Kayem can help you if you need mouth breathing treatments.