Question about attempting to force nose breathing at night

Hey all, I apologize if this has been covered previously but I didn’t have much luck finding this discussion when I was searching, maybe the wording is a bit too open…

My girlfriend had been complaining about my snoring for a number of years, specifically explaining that I will choke and gasp, and that it sounds like I stop breathing for periods of time at night. I figured this was signs of apnea, but I hadn’t had a chance to get this looked at as I’ve gone without insurance with the last few years.

Recently I became much more concerned after reading about the various complications apnea sufferers deal with, the dangers of it and decided to make a number of dietary and lifestyle changes to try to reverse whatever had happened that led to this (it’s something that had gradually developed over time as I had gone from around 170lbs to around 210lbs from what I can tell).

In the meantime I’m trying to take some precautions to make more immediate changes to improve my well being while I work to get back to my healthier weight and lifestyle. I realize now that a major issue here is that I’m mouth breathing at night, despite this not really being something I do a lot throughout the day.

I’ve seen various snore prevention options out there, I had recently purchased some nostril expanders that help clear your nasal pathways during the night for easier breathing, I’ve also seen the harness that seems to hold your jaw closed at night but a concern popped into my head… if I am mouth breathing at night, and I use options like the harness to close my mouth, will my body default to nasal breathing if I’m not awake to control it? Will I effectively be suffocating myself by attempting to prevent mouth breathing?

I apologize for the long winded intro to get to the question but I wanted to provide some context. Just looking for some casual information about this and I was having trouble finding this specific question online. I imagine the ultimate solution is a CPAP machine but i wanted to see if there were alternatives. Thanks!

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Welcome @BobbyM ! Your avatar is a Flyers Jersey!!! YAY! Berks County, here :slight_smile:

Regarding the mouth breathing, there are numerous options out there. Night Breathing retraining would be something you might look into to start out.

Have you taken the quiz the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, by chance? If you want to communicate via email, mine is:

hi everyone. i don’t know where this fits in or if it fits in. …i’m 74 yrs. old, and a recovering alcoholic and smoker and have been on a CPAP unit for about 6 yrs. i just recently got my 2nd unit after my 3rd sleep study. two of the studies were at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland and the most recent one was here in crystal river, Florida. because it is difficult to go to and stay asleep with air blowing up your nose, it has been difficult using the CPAP and trying to find the right facemask fit for me. the main reason i use it is to stay alive. from what i have read, just about all of your body-blood cells functions on oxygen. without getting the proper continual supply of oxygen, your body will suffer until the time it prematurely shuts down. the cpap units themselves and the facemask keep becoming more user-friendly and every effort should be made to find your fit…jim prow

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To Bobby M:

I think you will gain by experimenting with whatever methods you have at your disposal. Most people take a long time to get used to CPAP masks, until they find the one that works the best for them. Personally, I was unable to get used to any of the four different masks that were in existence, so I had the operation (removal of large parts of the soft palate). The operation worked for me. Of course, only your own physician can tell you if it would work for you, because not everyone’s throats are the same. Using a chin strap did not help me at all, because even though I could keep my jaw shut, the back of my mouth would relax and descend, closing the air passage.

Bobby M,
I tried using a bipap machine and full mask to treat my severe sleep apnea for two years and it was a dismal failure. It did a poor job of correcting my apneas and the mask hurt my face and made me feel claustrophobic. On Nov 27, 2017 I had the Inspire surgery. A small upper airway stimulator is implanted above your right breast. What it does is cause your tongue, which is blocking your airway to gently move out of the way so air can get through. I now wake up refreshed and full of energy (and I don’t snore!). It is worth checking into. In any case be sure to take care of your sleep apnea problem. You’ll live a healthier life. Good luck and if you want more details let me know.

Nose breathing should not be something that is forced. It is a natural way of breathing and is supposed to be better than breathing through the mouth. Most CPAP is through the nose.

I am a dentist working in dental sleep medicine. It is not that unusual for people who nose breathe during the day to revert to mouth breathing at night. Is there something in your bedroom that maybe kicks off some nasal allergies? Maybe a dusty, dirty pillow, or bed sheets, or rugs, or mattresses? Perhaps a trip to an ENT doctor might be a good idea to see if your nasal patency(openess) is everything it should be. Arthur B. Luisi, Jr., D.M.D…

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