Sleeping and breathing

Sleeping and breathing

We were meant to breathe during the night: relatively slow, quiet, using the stomach and inhaling through the nose. The same way that we were meant to breathe during the day, when we are in “rest and digest”.

Mouth breathing during the night may be associated with:
Increased chances for snoring
Out of balance pH levels in the mouth
Dry sinuses
Decreased intake of nitric oxide
Gum diseases
Dental decay

Many things happen to us during the night when we are asleep. Among other things, our body is repairing itself and a good supply of oxygen is needed for the repair work.

During non-REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, we tend to breath in a similar way to the way we breathe our unconscious-breathing in relaxation, during the day. During REM we are in our dreaming phase and our breathing may be affected by our dreams. Typically breathing tempo goes up and we start to breath irregularly, using our upper part of the lungs. Generally, when sleeping carbon dioxide (CO2) levels increase and oxygen (O2) levels decrease.

Sleep-apnea is a disorder that causes breathing pauses during sleep. This happens when the airway gets blocked and as a result the amount of air that gets to the lungs is limited.
Loud snorers are many times people that experience sleep-apnea.  This disruption may occur repeatedly during the night and as a result the sleeping quality of loud snorers is reduced.
Breathing exercises that train us to breathe through the nose using the diaphragm, may help in preventing sleep-apnea.

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that causes difficulties in falling asleep, may prevent continues sleep and may prevent going back to sleep after waking up. Relaxing breathing exercises may help in falling asleep, when experiencing insomnia.

Sleeping on one of the sides of the body has many advantages when it comes to breathing. The airways are stable and are less likely to restrict air flow.

It is worthwhile video-taping ourselves while we sleep. We can get a lot of information about how we sleep, by replaying the video, analyzing our sleeping-postures and our breathing.