When I see model-turned-Strictly presenter Tess Daly with her mouth taped up, I have the epiphany that mouth-taping could be just what I’m looking for.
I snore so badly that a boyfriend once went to sleep in a bedroom on another floor of the house, and I’m conscious that becoming a slack-jawed mouth-breather is not a good look.
In Tess Daly’s Instagram caption, she claims that mouth-taping gives her a deeper, more restful sleep, and she’s said in an interview that breathing through your nose is better for your skin, and stops you being baggy-eyed in the morning.
I could certainly benefit from this and when I look it up online, I see that Hollywood A-lister Gwyneth Paltrow is rumoured to be a fan of mouth-taping too.
If it’s good enough for Gwyneth, it’s good enough for me, and experts do seem to agree that it’s better to breathe through your nose. The benefits include filtering out dust, and feeling more relaxed, due to the parasympathetic nervous system kicking in.
But when it comes to mouth-taping, the experts are divided – not all of them think it’s a good idea, and to be honest, I have a few reservations myself. Namely:
- What if I literally can’t breathe? I’ve become so reliant on breathing through my mouth, I’m honestly not sure if I’ll be able to breathe through my nose for an entire night (or even a few minutes).
- What will happen when I wear fake tan to bed? Will pulling off the tape leave me with odd tan lines on my face?
- Am I losing the ability to simply go to sleep without an increasing number of night-time necessities? I used to just go to bed, but now I use ear plugs, eye masks and silk turbans. Do I really want to add mouth-tape to this seemingly never-ending list of sleep accessories?
I decide to find out.
Night 1: X shape mouth tape (portrait)
This was my first night wearing mouth tape. I was nervous about wearing it, because breathing through my mouth has become such a habit, even during the day, that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to spend an entire night breathing through my nose. I thought I might struggle to breathe and I envisioned having to take the tape off – but actually, my breathing was fine. It turns out that I’m perfectly capable of breathing through my nose and I slept really well.
The only time I came close to wanting to take off the tape was during the night when I woke up to use the bathroom. I’m a perpetual water drinker, and I’d usually reach for water by my bed when I wake up in the night. Not being able to do this was a bit AARRRGH and I did think of taking off the tape to drink water, but resisted.
When my alarm went off at 7am on Sunday morning, I took off the tape. Pulling it off slightly hurt my lips and skin and I wouldn’t really like to do this every day. I’m already slightly dreading having to do this each morning and I’m not sure how it would work if I was wearing fake tan.
I drank some water then dozed, and I noticed that my mouth stayed closed, without tape, so it seems like wearing the tape could help get me into better habits.
Night 2: Purple mouth tape
For my second night wearing mouth tape, I try a different brand, and when I put it on, I cringe to see that it looks like I’m wearing a dummy.
It’s not a good look and I wouldn’t want a partner to see me like this. On Amazon, it says this mouth tape is for adults, but it brings to mind something that the ABDL [Adult Baby Diaper Lover] fetish community might wear along with a nappy.
I put on the tape before my bedtime-scroll on my phone and while I’m wearing it, I have to stifle a yawn. Not long after that, I have to stifle laughter when I read something funny on Twitter/X. Mouth tape is not conducive to neither yawning nor laughing.
With this particular product, the tape is primarily around the outside of the lips, with two thin strips going over the lips themselves. This gives me confidence that I’ll be able to breathe through my mouth if I need to, but I also worry that the thin strips might break.
It turns out they don’t, and when I try to stretch the tape in the morning, I find that it’s more robust than it first appeared. But the tiny strips across the lips aren’t really enough to keep the lips closed, and I think my mouth does open slightly.
Taking off this tape is horrible – definitely worse than taking off the X-shape mouth-tape I wore on night one, and it leaves a slightly sticky residue on the skin around my mouth.
Night 3: Hostage tape
Unlike the first two tapes I tried, this fully covers my lips and the area surrounding my mouth. It’s literally black tape, as if you are indeed a hostage. It looks sinister and I am concerned that there’s no scope to breathe through my mouth if I need to.
The brand also does nasal strips. These apparently aid nasal breathing, so I wear one of these along with the tape. I’ve never tried nasal strips before, and I’m not sure if I’m just very open to suggestion, but they did seem to make nasal breathing clearer from the point of putting it on.
As I scroll through my phone before going to sleep, I have to stifle a yawn – because of course, I cannot open my mouth.
The mouth tape is not pleasant to take off and I definitely wouldn’t want to do this every morning. The nasal strip is really hard to remove and I have to put some Bio Oil on a cotton bud to ease it off. The difficulty getting it off would put me off using it again.
Night 4: X shape mouth tape (portrait)
During the day I’ve been slightly snuffly. I think I might have a cold coming on, so I was slightly concerned that I wouldn’t get on with the mouth-tape tonight. However, it turns out I was fine. I slept really well, and when I had a little snooze after the alarm went off and I’d taken off the tape, my mouth stayed closed.
Wednesday November 1
Night 5: Wearing the X shape mouth tape (landscape)
Tonight I wore the X-shape mouth-tape landscape style, rather than portrait style, so it was more just on my lips, rather than on my skin above and below my mouth.
This was with a view to how I’ll manage with mouth-tape when I wear fake tan to bed. This will be problematic with tape on my skin, so I was trying to find a way to wear it just on my lips.
Unfortunately, wearing the X-shape tape landscape style doesn’t work so well. The tape stayed on, but it didn’t fully keep my mouth closed as I slept. I experienced the dry mouth that I would usually experience from mouth-breathing in the night and I didn’t sleep as well as I have when the mouth-tape has fully worked.
Night 6: X mouth tape (portrait)
Tonight I went back to wearing the X-shape mouth-tape portrait style. I jolted awake a couple of times in the night.
It seemed like I’d tried to open my mouth in my sleep, and found that I couldn’t – I think I must have been trying to take a big breath of air. Each time I went back to sleep and continued to breathe through my nose.
Night 7: X mouth tape (portrait)
I put on my mouth tape and just as I was ready to go to sleep, I remembered that I hadn’t opened my bedroom window. I like to have the windows open when I’m sleeping – even in November – and I knew that if I didn’t open it now, I’d have to get up in the night to do it.
As I put off getting up, I dozed off, and when I woke up about half an hour later, I could feel that, despite the mouth tape, my lips were slightly parted and my mouth was dry inside – a clear sign that I’d been mouth-breathing.
Perhaps I hadn’t applied the tape properly? After opening the window, I removed the mouth tape and applied a new strip. I could feel that it was slightly off to one side, rather than central, but I was too tired to deal with it so I just went to sleep.
When I woke up in the morning, my lips were slightly parted and my mouth was dry inside, so I’d clearly been mouth-breathing.
It might be because I hadn’t applied the tape properly, but as winter sets in, I am starting to get bunged up.
This means I’m experiencing difficulty breathing through my nose, and the knock-on effect is an increased need to breathe through my mouth.
I think the sheer need to breathe over-rode the strength of the mouth-tape – which is actually quite reassuring when you think about it!