Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sleeping with your mouth open

Before I went to my first sleep study, as a matter of fact, way before I went to a sleep study, I had a problem with my teeth grinding. I don’t remember for sure but I believe it was a dentist that told me that I was grinding my teeth at night. I believe they call that bruxism. I didn’t think that was the case, but I tried and tried to keep my mouth open while I sleep and it must have worked because I no longer grinded my teeth at night.

What I did instead was sleep with my mouth wide open, breathing through my big mouth. I suppose that isn’t bad if you don’t have sleep apnea. Although I think it is recommended that breathing through your nose is better.

Why? For a number of reasons such as air leaving the nostril takes longer and it gives the lungs a better chance to extract oxygen. The nose filters the air going into the lungs, which is a good thing that doesn’t happen when you are breathing through your mouth. The only problem that I ever had sleeping with my mouth open was that my mouth was very dried out in the morning.

However, the worse consequence of breathing through my mouth at night was trying to use the cpap with a mask that just covered the nose. On my second overnight sleep study, the tech insisted that I tried a mask that didn’t cover my mouth (he didn’t have a full face mask) I couldn’t do it because when I opened my mouth the air would burst out, which is a very strange feeling. The tech even tried a strap around my head to close my mouth. It closed my mouth all right, but there was no way I was going to fall asleep.

When I received my first cpap machine, I did have a full face mask. It was very cumbersome and there was a great deal of air escaping. I eventually gave up on that.

Anyway, if you breathe through your nose, you will definitely have an advantage over a mouth breather when it comes to using a CPAP machine.

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  1. Just wondering- did you always have sleep apnea? Was the sleeping with your mouth open a sign of sleep apnea, or just a precursor?

  2. I don't think that I had sleep apnea when I was a kid although I probably did sleep with my mouth open then.

  3. i have the same problem now, but now i am waking up with numb hands and weak arms, so am not sure if i am breathing not only through my mouth but breathing shallow,,so maybe oxygen isnt going to my arms??? i dunno, i am very anxious about this.