Avocado emoji

The power of nose breathing

Matt Hood headshot
Matt Hood
Stopwatch emoji
3.5 min read

Our mouths are evolved to eat and talk. Our noses to breathe.

The amount of space the nasal cavity still takes up backs this.

99% of animals breathe through their noses. And we're designed to do the same.

But half of us breathe more through our mouths.

So what? Does it matter?

In short, yes. An insane amount.

Mouth breathing can lead to:

  • ðŸĶī Functional, postural and biomechanical problems
  • 🧎 Chronic disease

Not ideal for health and performance...

Nasal breathing benefits the body in at least 30 ways. Here's a handful of them:

ðŸĐļ 1. Increases oxygen in the blood by 10-20%

Using the schnozz slows our breathing down. Giving the lungs more time to grab the oxygen from that breath.

Plus, nitric oxide builds up in the sinuses when we nose breathe. Which opens the blood vessels in the lungs, further increasing oxygen uptake.

ðŸĶĩ 2. Increases the amount of oxygen delivered to our tissues and organs

Most oxygen gets around the body in red blood cells. And carbon dioxide is what releases that oxygen to our tissues and organs.

But when we mouth breathe, we lose too much carbon dioxide. Which limits the oxygen our bodies can use.

👃 3. We switch on the diaphragm

The diaphragm is an important muscle of our core. Which is activated more when we nose breathe (if your tummy moves when you breathe, you're using your diaphragm 👍).

Using it is 22% more efficient on our muscles = better stamina. It's also (yet another) more efficient way of transferring oxygen from the lungs to the blood.

Diaphragmatic breathing itself is a whole other mine of good shit for our bodies. More on that soon.

Now, you might be wondering:

What can I do about it?

  1. 🔍 Awareness: notice how you breathe at different parts of the day (nose vs mouth, chest vs diaphragm)
  2. 👃 Switch: consciously switch to nose breathing when you catch yourself mouth breathing
  3. 🏃 Exercise: Breathe through your nose for as long as possible during exercise (the more you do it, the better you get)
  4. ðŸ˜ī Sleep: If you struggle to breathe through your nose (particularly when you sleep), consider trying nasal strips (they're not the cure-all, but they've made a noticeably difference for me)

Wanna go deeper? Highly recommend this.