At night your mouth stays closed, at best. And yet there are many mouth breathers among us. A new Tiktok trend is supposed to help – influencers want to improve their health with mouth tapes. But does it work?
Sleep is healthy, they say. However, it’s not just the length of sleep that matters, but also the quality. And this can be increased significantly if you tape your mouth shut. Sounds absurd? Perhaps. Nevertheless, a number of influencers swear by the trend called “mouth taping” and show it off on the social media platform TikTok proud of how they painstakingly tape their mouths shut before going to bed. There are now more than 140 million views under the hashtag #mouthtaping, and the trend is rising. But what’s the point of all this – and does it really achieve anything?
The basic idea behind the rather unusual practice: If you tape your mouth shut at night, it stays closed and you increase nasal breathing – and this in turn is said to have several benefits for our health. For example, nasal breathing is supposed to ensure a more restful and peaceful sleep, which our body thanks us for with more energy the next day. We also filter pollutants out of the air better through our noses and enrich them with nitric oxide, which is said to have a blood pressure-lowering and anti-anxiety effect.
Why mouth breathing is counterproductive
In contrast, the Mouth breathing almost demonized by many health experts. The air is not really processed and so it ends up directly in the lungs. In addition, mouth breathing during sleep is most likely to cause pauses in breathing and snoring. “Breathing through the mouth can also potentially lead to changes in the posture of the head and neck,” said sleep researcher Christian Benedict in an interview with the news agency spot on news. In addition, breathing through the mouth is said to be bad for the teeth, heart and lungs – and promotes the spread of bacteria and viruses.
The solution actually seems obvious: simply breathe easily through your nose. However, it’s obviously not as easy as you think. According to a study from Stanford University, about half of people tend to breathe through their mouths. This can be due to habit, but also physical causes such as a narrowed nasal septum or a cold. “If you’re healthy, you usually breathe through your nose at night, sometimes a little through your mouth. That’s completely normal,” says a sleep doctor Martin Konermann in conversation with ZDF.
How to recognize bad sleep
So breathing a little through your mouth isn’t a problem. Is the tape even necessary – or is it just another Tiktok trend that has become a superfluous success? Neither, because it depends. If you wake up in the morning and feel as if a train had passed over you during the night, if you are constantly tired and exhausted and sleep restlessly or snore, “mouth taping” could really help if in doubt. However, Konermann advises: If you want to encourage mouth breathing with the Tiktok trend, you should talk to a doctor about it beforehand.
There is currently no scientific evidence of its effectiveness. According to sleep researcher Benedict, there are some counterarguments: “If people have moderate to severe allergies Sleep apnea If you have trouble breathing through your nose while sleeping or have a narrowed nasal passage, you should avoid taping your mouth.” In the worst case scenario, this would result in you not getting enough oxygen while you sleep and doing more harm than good.
Tape your mouth shut to prevent snoring?
After all, you can’t suffocate with mouth tape because the body’s natural protective reflex would wake you up beforehand. However, the whole thing can still cause a few side effects. On Tiktok, some users report that their skin was irritated, there were problems removing the tape – especially for those with beards – and that taping the mouth shut was associated with an uneasy feeling. Healthy sleep also has its price.
What exactly taping your mouth shut at night can and can’t do hasn’t really been researched yet. However, initial pilot studies indicate that the Mouth tapes can have a positive effect on the body if you use them correctly and carefully. In 2015, researchers were able to show in a study published in the journal “Otolaryngology” that “mouth taping” can reduce snoring. Another study from 2022 came to a similar result. However, if you expect more than a peaceful night’s sleep by keeping your mouth closed at night, you may end up waking up disappointed. Sleep scientist Konermann dispels a promise from the Tiktok team: “It won’t make you more beautiful or fitter.”
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I’m Caroline, a journalist and author for 24 Hours Worlds. I specialize in health-related news and stories, bringing real-world impact to readers across the globe. With my experience in journalism and writing in both print and online formats, I strive to provide reliable information that resonates with audiences from all walks of life.