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breathing out of sheer desperation*

January 6, 2006   

*Title of blog entry stolen from a friend’s blog.

Seppo and I have been talking about b.o. as a result of A_B’s post about how much people stink and don’t know it. Somehow, it segued to my morning breath (everyone has it! stop looking at me!) which then made me wonder if the intensity is related to the fact that when I sleep, I generally breathe through my mouth because I have a hard time breathing through my nose while sleeping. Seriously, it sucks. I wake up every single morning feeling like my nose is so stuffy that I feel like I’m fighting for my breath. It doesn’t seem to be a lung issue because I feel fine when I breathe through my mouth.

Anyway, my conjecture is that sleeping with a slightly open mouth leads to greater overnight bacterial growth then sleeping with a fully closed mouth, because active saliva flow acts as a bacterial deterrent. Sleeping with my mouth slightly open gives bacteria the perfect breeding ground: wet, moist, and aerated.

To test this hypothesis, we purchased a box of clear nasal strips (the regular, non-mentholated, non-vapor kind) last night:

Whoa. When I put that on right before bed, I had this overwhelming feeling like I was taking my first good breath of the last… um… well, for as long as I can actively remember. Wow. Man.

This morning, I woke up and realized that I hadn’t woken up in the middle of the night last night, as I have for the last I-have-no-idea-how-long. Every night, I wake up a good three or four times and I wake up feeling so tired, so matter how many hours I had spent in bed. This morning, I won’t say I didn’t feel tired, but at least I had slept through the night! Woo!

As to the hypothesis, Seppo thought my morning breath was less stinky than usual. Certainly, my throat felt less dry than usual, as a result of not having to breathe through my mouth. I am gonna use these every night, yo.

When I took off the little strip, it felt like I was submerging myself under water. Maybe since I’m working from home today, I’ll just put one on while I work.

Angry Chad
January 6, 2006 at 12:44 pm

Thanks for the tip. I’ll have to try those out.

A question though – how’s the humidity in your house? Up here in the colder areas of the country, humidity during the winter can fall well below 30%, making it harder to breath. Steph and I turn on a small humidifier in the bedroom very night before we hit the sack and it seems to help a lot. It’s especially good at fighting that cotton mouth feeling that can happen when you’ve slept with your mouth open the whole night.

I’ve been sleeping like crap for the past three nights, coincidentally, ever since the humidifier filter has been reading in the red zone (needs to be changed).

January 6, 2006 at 1:11 pm

As to the humidity, I am not sure. I did get a humidifier a couple of years ago for this exact reason, but for some reason, I couldn’t get the levels just right, and it always felt too moist or too dry. :-/

Angry Chad
January 6, 2006 at 1:44 pm

There are quite a few different models out now that have digital humistats built in, to keep the room at optimal levels.

January 6, 2006 at 2:14 pm

Wow! They have minimaly-invasive surgeries for that, where they can go in and open up your nasal passages permanently.

As for morning breath, I found mine almost completely disappeared when I added mouthwash to my evening routine.

January 6, 2006 at 2:27 pm

We have the same humidity problems as Chad described. My digital thermostat bottoms out at 20% (for no apparent reason). I know it gets much lower than that.

We have a shitty humidifier that doesn’t make a dent.

I never really think about morning breath since I never leave the house with it.

I sleep only about 5 hours a night, but I sleep like a stone despite the fact it’s incredibly dry.

January 7, 2006 at 9:32 am

I have the same problem – I can only breathe through my mouth at night. I’m not sure why. As soon as I lay down, breathing through my nose feels uncomfortable. I use mouthwash regularly and have never heard any complaints about awful morning breath, but I might try out those nasal strips.

January 13, 2006 at 2:54 pm

Wow! They have minimaly-invasive surgeries for that, where they can go in and open up your nasal passages permanently.

My sister had this done a couple of years ago and she looked quite ugly for a few days (I wonder if the procedure hasn’t been refined since then though?), but it did help immensely.

FWIW, I’ve had a head/chest cold this past week and was having trouble sleeping until we got the humidifier. We picked up a cold vapor one so as to not scald the cats when they go exploring. It’s made a world of difference.

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