One of the latest trends filling social media feeds is mouth taping. Millions of views from TikTok users show how a one-inch piece of tape vertically, horizontally or even crisscross over your lips can lead to a better night sleep.
For some, the cheap, over-the-counter method can work — but use caution..
Lauri Leadley, founder, and clinical sleep educator at Valley Sleep Center, stresses that "mouth breathing is not normal."
Recently, struggling sleepers have come to her practice saying, ”Hey, I found this online, and I want to know if it will help my snoring.”
Stopping snoring is a key reason some tape their lips together before bed.
Forty percent of adult men and 24% of adult women are habitual snorers, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
If snoring goes untreated, you can develop high blood pressure, cardiac problems, cavities, or sleep apnea. Snoring that disrupts sleep can lead to a slower metabolism leading to weight gain and loss of energy throughout the day.
Leadley says keeping your mouth shut and breathing through your nose while snoozing can help you fall into a deeper sleep without disruptions.
"Sleep tape is one of the most affordable ways to actually treat sleep apnea if it’s mild, for sure,” she said.
But with nearly half of TikTok users between the age of 18 to 24, sleep tape could be risky for teens and younger people.
“It might be a little traumatic for children,” said Leadley.
If you have a cold, nasal congestion, or a deviated septum, taping your mouth before bed could obstruct breathing and lead to a slew of different problems.
The sticky adhesive could irritate the skin. If using the tape, Leadley suggests using paper tape or one for sensitive skin.
Taping someone’s mouth could lead to the anxiety of having one airway blocked.
A study by Sleep Foundation found sleep tape could anecdotally ease a variety of problems, but most claims haven’t been studied scientifically.
Leadley said finding that restful REM sleep starts an hour before bed.
“One hour before bed — no electronics,” she said.
She suggests reading or writing what you are thankful for instead of scrolling on your phone, and a combo of deep breathing and meditation.
Leadley also said if you take a hot shower before bed, it could help cool you off before a restful night's sleep.
Although it may be challenging during Arizona summers, try turning down the thermostat. She says they recommend “sleeping in 60-67 degrees.”
This article was written by Jordan Bontke for KNXV.