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Is 'mouth taping' the secret to a good night's sleep?

Some wellness influencers on TikTok are claiming it helps with snoring and dry mouth.
TODAY Illustration / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

If you want quality shut-eye, consider taping your mouth shut? At least that’s what some popular wellness influencers are claiming on social media. Medical experts say this is a trend you can go ahead and sleep on.

In a TikTok video that has racked up more than 5.6 million views, health coach Cory Rodriguez is shown placing an adhesive over his lips. Rodriguez uses special strips designed for open-mouth snorers, but notes that “gentle paper medical tape” works just as well.

“The goal is to breathe through your nose while you’re asleep versus your mouth,” Rodriguez explains. He then lists all the benefits, including improved oral hygiene, a better slumber, reduced dry mouth and a decrease in snoring.

Fellow content creator Alexis Fischer is also a fan of mouth taping.

"You're going to get the deepest sleep you've ever experienced," Fischer raves in a now-viral TikTok clip.

"It does not completely seal your lips & breath can still pass through your mouth, The tape isn’t crazy strong!” she added in the comments.

Many people like Rodriguez and Fischer credit mouth taping for improving their overall sleep patterns.

“This has changed my life. No more snoring, mouth breathing, or congestion,” one person wrote on Fischer’s TikTok video.

Added another, “This is the single most life changing thing I’ve ever learned from TikTok. I’ve been doing this every night for 6mos. Can’t sleep w/out it now.”

Is this an effective sleep aid? Experts weigh in

We’re meant to be nose breathers, says Dr. James Mojica, a pulmonologist and director of the Spaulding Rehab Sleep Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Noses humidify the air and filter debris before it can get into your lungs. It also boosts your oxygen uptake.

When a person breathes through their mouth during sleep, it can often indicate some kind of nasal restriction or obstruction.

"We often mouth breath when we are trying to intake more oxygen, like after after a vigorous sprint," Dr. W. Christopher Winter, a neurologist and sleep specialist in Charlottesville, Virginia, told TODAY.

But if you’re breathing through your mouth at night, Mojica warns that taping it shut is not the solution. 

“You want to figure out why you’re mouth breathing,” he told TODAY. “You want to find the source of the snoring.”

One possible cause is sleep apnea, which happens when a person’s upper airway becomes blocked repeatedly during sleep, reducing or completely stopping airflows, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. It can be related to obesity, heart or kidney failure, endocrine disorders and other serious conditions. 

A deviated septum, a nasal polyp, allergies or asthma could also be causing you to mouth breathe, Mojica said. 

Mouth taping has not been formally studied and is not an approved therapy, but Mojica compares the practice to nasal strips, which are marketed as a tool to open the nasal passages. 

“I have had patients swear that with nasal strips, their snoring went away,” he shared. “Then we do a sleep study and it shows that there’s no difference whatsoever.”

Dr. Megan Acho, a pulmonologist and sleep specialist at University of Michigan Health, recommends paying attention to your sleep position and what you're drinking before bedtime. “Mouth breathing and snoring can be worsened by things like sleeping on your back and drinking alcohol," she said.

Acho also stressed the importance of talking to a doctor — especially if you have symptoms of sleep apnea including excessive sleepiness during the day, waking up feeling like your are choking or gasping, or experiencing frequent headaches in the morning.

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