A consequence of being a sleep doctor is that I constantly get bombarded with questions about sleep by complete strangers at parties, gatherings, and especially on airplanes. It seems that almost everyone I meet has or knows someone that can’t sleep. They’ve tried all the typical methods and hacks recommend by friends or found online, with minimal to no success. At this point, I use NOSTRILS as a reminder of the 8 important steps to help those of you that are struggling to fall or stay asleep.
Before I describe the 8 things to consider, my basic premise is that all modern human have smaller jaws and airways, predisposing everyone to various degrees of breathing problems at night. If you had wisdom teeth removed, or needed braces, then you’re at risk. Crooked teeth comes from smaller jaws, which leads to more narrow airways from the tip of your nose to your voice box. Breathing problems result during sleep, leading to various physical ailments that are so common in our society today. This is what I talk about in my book, Sleep Interrupted: A physician reveals the #1 reason why so many of us are sick and tired.
Being able to breathe optimally through your nose is the single most important thing to start with. If you can’t breathe through your nose, this will force you to mouth breathe, which causes more obstructed breathing, as explained in my last post. If you are breathing well through your nose but suddenly suffer from an allergy attack, you begin to toss and turn, because your nose is more stuffy. This is due to the vacuum effect that’s created in your throat like what happens when you suck on a straw with the other end pinched closed. (Read my free report on How to Unstuff Your Stuffy Nose.)
Getting more oxygen is commonly touted as being more healthy. This is a myth.
- The air you breathe has plenty of oxygen that’s available to your body. When you stop breathing multiple times at night, it creates a stress response that shuts down blood flow to your gut, your reproductive organs, and higher-level areas of your brain. As this problem worsens, it can carry over into the daytime, leading to poor oxygenation of tissues that are required for optimal health.
- Another important process that lowers oxygen to your body occurs when you don’t breathe through your nose. The nose makes a gas called nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels. Once this gas reaches your lungs, it relaxes smooth muscles in your blood vessels allowing more oxygen absorption. Bypassing the