(This is the second part of the previous article “How You Breathe during the Day Affects Your Sleep Quality.”)
If you ask us what is the most important requirement for the human body (no it’s not sleep), it’s breathing. As explained in the previous article, the manner in which we breathe has an enormous effect on our health. In fact, the way you breathe during the daytime can affect what happens during your sleep. Improper daytime breathing can even result in breathing stoppage during sleep, a condition known as obstructive sleep apnea, as mentioned in part 1 of this article).
In this regard, it is important that we correct our breathing, particularly during our waking hours. Here are some effective tips and they can be summed up with the initials…
B R E A T H
• Be aware. Ask yourself if you are breathing properly. Observe your breathing and that of your family or friends. Do they breathe using the upper chest or through an open mouth? Peek in on your kids at night and observe their breathing during the day.
• Recognise signs that suggest your breathing needs to be corrected such as fatigue, snoring, asthma, frequent sighs (sniffing or yawning), heavy breathing at rest or during physical exercise.
• Engage in breathing lessons with a skilled and licensed medical practitioner such as your family physician, an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist, or physical therapist.
• Asthma sufferers, who generally get tired more easily than their non-asthma counterparts, should pay extra attention. If necessary, explore breathing training in conjunction with medical treatment as a pathway to the potential minimisation of symptoms and improved health.
• Take any necessary action to correct your breathing NOW. If there is a medical condition that requires your attention, don’t be afraid to go to the doctor, It is better to know even if it is something bad, rather than not knowing and regretting it later on.
• Heed the doctor’s advice. Seek examination from a medical professional to evaluate any nasal or airway obstruction that can be causing improper breathing, including mouth breathing. Get a diagnosis and if you do have a sleep disorder get any necessary treatment. If you are being treated for obstructive sleep apnea with a CPAP or oral appliance, be conscious of how you are breathing during the day as well.
• Experience what it feels like to breathe well through the nose. Consider purchasing a nasal dilator to increase nasal airflow, you may be surprised what a difference it makes to breathe properly, you may even reduce snoring. In fact, Chris Froome, four-time Tour de France winner, has worn a dilator during his wins.
Proper breathing both during the day and night is central to our health. We are designed to inhale and exhale through our nose, from our very first breath to our very last. Try to be aware of how you breathe, if mouth breathing is evident, it is important to take steps to evaluate why. Make some notes of your observations and share them with your family physician to identify the cause. Expert help is available to get your breathing on track for your health, well-being and optimal functioning 24/7.
Excerpts from an article by Nancy H. Rothstein, the “Sleep Ambassador”