There have been several articles floating around recently regarding mouth taping before going to sleep. Several of them have expressed alarm about the practice, which is understandable. But what might surprise you is that, as a leading sleep clinic, we actually endorse mouth taping as a short-term remedy for those suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.
Mouth taping is exactly what it sounds like: you tape your mouth shut before going to sleep. (We recommend a small strip of tape vertically from upper lip to lower lip. The idea is that it forces you to breathe through your nose during the night, thereby bypassing the mouth completely. It’s obviously a first step, and a very short-term step, to addressing sleep issues. It’s not something you can realistically do long-term, it’s not really an option for those suffering from allergies or nasal congestion, and most of all, it does nothing to address the underlying issues if you’re suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. But it does offer some very real up-front benefits:
- It’s a simple test to see if you have sleep apnea. If you live alone and are uncertain as to whether you’re suffering from chronic snoring, try mouth taping for a night or two and see how you feel in the morning. If you feel more rested, then you may have a strong case of sleep apnea.
- It’s cheap, and readily available. A decent CPAP machine will probably cost $1,000. The NightLase is well within reach for most people, even without insurance. But pretty much every remedy from the medical community is going to be more expensive than a $5 roll of tape and a couple of minutes in front of a mirror.
- It’s an exceptionally fast remedy. Every meaningful treatment for sleep apnea can’t be implemented overnight. If you want to get a CPAP machine, you still have to get a doctor’s prescription. Even the laser treatment for snoring that we offer – which really does produce immediate results for the overwhelming majority of patients – still takes time to implement. (After all, you do have to come to the clinic!) But if it’s 10pm, and you’re desperate to get to sleep right now, mouth taping may be the only real option at your disposal.
Obviously, it needs to be done carefully. Use the wrong tape, and you could cause some serious skin irritation. (It’s one reason that some people can’t use CPAP machines.) And as stated above, it isn’t any kind of long-term solution. But in a pinch, it will do the job if you need a good night’s sleep ASAP.
- Sleep Hack: How I Learned to Sleep Better With Mouth Taping (Everyday Health)
- What Is Mouth Taping, and Does It Help Treat Snoring or Sleep Apnea? (Healthline)