Using Mouth Tape for Better Sleep: A Quick and Useful Guide

Using Mouth Tape for Better Sleep: A Quick and Useful Guide

Nick Heath, PhD Nick Heath, PhD
4 minute read

I’ve tried many strange things to improve my health, from 5-day fasts and ice baths to barefoot walking and infrared saunas. But of everything I’ve ever tried, taping my mouth at night has—without a doubt—had the most significant positive impact on my life.

It’s given me deeper sleep, more energy than I knew was possible, better insulin sensitivity, and much more.

Of course, not everyone will get dramatic benefits like this. But taping requires minimal effort for the health benefits it provides. I call it the “passive income of health.”

Let’s look at what it is and how you can use it to potentially start sleeping better tonight.

What Is Mouth Taping?

Mouth taping is exactly what it sounds like: taping your mouth closed at night. We do it to ensure nasal breathing while we sleep (more on this soon).

What Kind of Tape Should Be Used?

There are several options for tape. Many brands now exist solely for this purpose. Do a quick search on Amazon for “mouth tape” or “sleep tape,” and you’ll see many options.

However, the cheapest route is to use gentle paper tape. For example, I use 3M micropore paper tape, which costs, on average, only 3-10 cents per night.

A word of warning: some YouTube videos and blogs show people using duct tape or similar. This is extreme, unnecessary, and may even prevent (or negate) the benefits of mouth tape.

How Do We Apply the Tape?

If you buy a tape designed for sleep, it will come with instructions for application.

If you use gentle paper tape, you have two good options: (1) a vertical strip or (2) a horizontal strip.

I use the vertical approach. You simply tear off a piece of tape about ½ - 1 inch long and place it vertically across the center of your lips.

For the horizontal approach, tear off a piece about 2 inches long and place it horizontally across your lips to seal them.

Here’s a short YouTube clip with a demonstration. I recommend using about half the amount of tape they use for their demo.

Are There Any Dangers?

Mouth taping is generally safe for most adults. The two most significant contraindications are if you’ve had too much alcohol or if you are sick/nauseous—you don’t want any risk of throwing up with your mouth taped.

But Won’t I Suffocate?

Because breathing is more important than any other bodily function, you’ll rip the tape off (often without even waking up) if it causes breathing problems.

In fact, the first several nights, you will almost certainly rip it off. For example, my first few nights, I woke up with it on my pillow, hair, or floor. But once your body adjusts, you’ll make it through the night with no problems while potentially getting the best sleep you ever have.

The Benefits of Mouth Tape

The benefits of mouth tape result from the benefits of nose breathing (see our recent blog, 10 Reasons it's Better to Breathe through Your Nose than Mouth ).

But, specifically for sleep, here are some of the additional advantages:

These don’t even include all the indirect benefits of better sleep, like improved insulin sensitivity and a better mindset.

There you have it. You now know the benefits of mouth tape and how to do it. If it sounds like a good fit for you, try it for a few nights and see how you feel.

Enjoy getting deeper and more restorative sleep with this simple practice.

Authors Note: Want an even deeper look at the benefits of mouth tape from a dentist’s perspective? Check out this excellent blog by Dr. Mark Burhenne.

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