You might have seen the viral mouth taping TikTok trend. It’s a seemingly simple life hack that promises everything from deeper sleep to clearer skin, reduced snoring to better breath. It’s even said to help those with sleep apnea — all by placing a piece of tape over your mouth as you sleep. But is there much scientific evidence behind this trend?
While mouth breathing has been linked to a whole host of health issues, and nasal breathing is better for you, taping your lips closed may not be the answer. There isn’t much research into mouth taping, and the practice can be dangerous.
Below, we’ll dive into what mouth taping is, what the benefits and risks are, and what you can do instead to improve your energy, snoring, and sleep apnea. Plus, we’ll share how the RISE app can help you get some of the benefits of mouth taping, without the tape.
Mouth taping involves placing a piece of tape over your mouth as you sleep. The aim isn’t to seal your lips shut, however, it’s to relax your muscles to make your body breathe through your nose, instead of your mouth.
You may find that after taping your mouth closed for a few weeks, you don’t need the tape at all and nasal breathing becomes your default.
Taping your mouth shut sounds more like a torture method than a health hack, so why exactly are people doing it? It’s because mouth breathing isn’t the best for you and nasal breathing comes with many benefits.
Your nose filters out allergens and it warms and adds moisture to the air you breathe in.
The benefits of breathing through your nose include:
And on the flip side, mouth breathing can lead to:
Mouth breathing in children can lead to developmental issues in their face shape, as well as sleep loss — which can impact their growth, academic performance, and behavior (and a potential misdiagnosis of ADHD, which has very similar symptoms to sleep deprivation).
But, while there are many dangers of mouth breathing, there’s not enough research to say whether mouth taping can stop these things from happening.
A few searches on social media and you’ll see the practice is said to have endless benefits, but here’s what has been scientifically proven.
Snoring can often be caused by mouth breathing, so mouth taping sounds like an easy fix to help you, and your bed partner, have a quieter night’s sleep.
One sleep study found mouth taping helped decrease snoring intensity and frequency. But the study was small — only 30 people — and included those who have sleep apnea. There isn’t much research into how mouth taping can help those who snore, but don’t have sleep apnea.
Snoring isn’t always caused by something as simple as mouth breathing, though. It might be a sign of sleep apnea or be caused by being overweight, drinking alcohol, taking sleep aids, or by a physical problem like having large tonsils or narrow airways. So, mouth taping may not help at all, or it may offer some relief, but not solve the root cause of your noisy breathing.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing temporarily throughout the night. You can learn more about how to know if you have sleep apnea here.
Those with obstructive sleep apnea often have nasal obstructions, and these obstructions may contribute to the sleep disorder or make it worse. Mouth breathing also makes it harder to stick to sleep apnea treatments like using a CPAP machine, a continuous positive airway pressure machine that pushes air into your airways to keep them open throughout the night.
A 2022 study looked at mouth breathers with mild sleep apnea. The results showed mouth taping helped to:
The worse the sleep apnea and snoring were, the greater the improvement mouth taping had. The study concluded: “Mouth-taping could be an alternative treatment in patients with mild OSA before turning to CPAP therapy or surgical intervention.”
However, it’s not clear how effective mouth taping would be for those without mild sleep apnea.
Mouth taping may also help reduce mouth leak. Mouth leak happens when someone with sleep apnea is using a machine to push air into their nasal airways, but they begin mouth breathing during the night. This reduces how effective the treatment is and can disrupt sleep architecture, or how your body moves through sleep stages, like REM and deep sleep.
Those with sleep apnea often snore, and mouth taping may help to reduce this, too, helping both the person affected and their bed partner get more sleep.
However, more research needs to be done. Another 2022 study found those with sleep apnea still tried to breathe through their mouths, even when they were taped shut — also known as “mouth puffing.”
Mouth taping may help those with asthma improve their symptoms. It can be used as part of the Buteyko breathing technique (BBT) program, which includes breathing techniques designed to stabilize your breathing patterns.
But, as with mouth taping in general, there’s not enough research to be sure. One study found mouth taping didn’t improve asthma symptoms at all.
While sleeping with your mouth open can lead to health issues, and there are benefits to nasal breathing, mouth taping to make that happen isn’t widely researched and the risks aren’t well known.
There is some promising research into mouth taping, but it’s mainly in those with sleep apnea and not the general population. And those with sleep apnea shouldn’t try the health hack without medical supervision.
Side effects of mouth taping include:
Even if mouth taping provides some benefits for you, it may be a quick fix and not solve the root cause of the problem you’re trying to solve. It may help reduce your snoring, for example, but if this snoring is being caused by undiagnosed sleep apnea, it can be dangerous to ignore it and not get proper treatment.
Plus, mouth taping only really works if you’re a mouth breather through habit. If you breathe through your mouth due to nasal obstructions like polyps, for example, mouth taping won’t cure this.
Want to try mouth taping? There are no official guidelines, but here are a few tips if you’re going to try the practice for yourself:
After a few weeks of mouth taping, you may find you naturally begin breathing through your nose and don’t need the tape anymore.
There are things you can do to help you breathe through your nose while you sleep that don’t involve taping your mouth shut.
Looking to reduce your snoring, improve your sleep apnea, or boost your energy levels? Put down the tape and try these safer, science-backed options instead.
We’ve covered how to stop snoring in detail, but here are some methods to get you started:
There are many mouth taping alternatives for treating sleep apnea. We’ve covered how to get rid of sleep apnea here.
Talk to a doctor or sleep specialist if you think you have sleep apnea. They can test you for the sleep disorder and recommend the best treatment.
Treatment options include:
One reported benefit of mouth taping is improved daytime energy. This benefit hasn’t been proven, and even if it does boost your energy levels, it may only help a small amount. Luckily, there are scientifically backed ways you can get more energy.
The more sleep debt you have, the more tired you’ll feel. We recommend keeping sleep debt below five hours to optimize your energy levels.
The RISE app works out your individual sleep need and tracks your sleep times to tell you how much sleep debt you have each day.
Got more than five hours? You can pay sleep debt back by:
RISE users on iOS 1.202 and above can click here to view their sleep debt.
Your circadian rhythm is your body’s internal clock. It runs on a roughly 24-hour cycle and dictates your sleep-wake cycle, body temperature fluctuations, and hormone production, among other things.
Living in sync with your circadian rhythm maximizes your energy levels, as well as your overall mental and physical health.
Here’s how to get in sync:
The RISE app predicts your circadian rhythm each day based on factors like your inferred light exposure and last night’s sleep times. You can then see when your body naturally wants to wake up and go to sleep, and sync up your daily life with it.
RISE users on iOS 1.202 and above can click here to see their circadian rhythm on the Energy screen.
Meeting your sleep need and staying in sync with your circadian rhythm are key behaviors for health, performance, and energy — but they can be hard to do. That’s where sleep hygiene comes in.
Sleep hygiene is the name for the behaviors you can do each day to help you feel sleepy at the right time, fall asleep faster, and wake up less often throughout the night.
The RISE app can remind you to do 20+ sleep hygiene habits each day and tell you the ideal time to do each one to make them more effective.
RISE users on iOS 1.202 and above can click here to set up their 20+ in-app habit notifications.
Mouth taping has taken TikTok by storm, but there’s not much scientific evidence behind the wellness trend. From the research that has been done, mouth taping may help reduce snoring and sleep apnea symptoms, but further studies are needed.
Speak to a doctor before you try mouth taping or opt for safer, science-backed methods to improve your snoring, sleep apnea, and energy levels.
The RISE app can help on your journey to good sleep. RISE keeps track of your sleep debt, predicts your circadian rhythm, so you can sync up with it, and guides you through 20+ sleep hygiene habits to help you get the sleep you need each night for maximum energy each day.
People tape their mouth when they sleep to force themselves to breathe through their nose. This can help reduce snoring and sleep apnea symptoms and may improve energy levels and bad breath.
You can use surgical tape, special mouth tape products, or a chin strap to keep your mouth closed when you sleep. You can also treat nasal congestion or obstructions to make nose breathing easier.
The benefits of sleeping with your mouth taped may include reduced snoring and sleep apnea symptoms. There isn’t much research into the practice, but people claim they have more energy, better breath, and better sleep quality when they mouth tape.
Mouth taping can be dangerous. You may not be able to get enough oxygen through your nose if you have congestion or nasal obstructions. Mouth taping can also cause sleep disruption, anxiety, and allergic reactions.
Mouth taping may help with snoring. Some studies show mouth taping can reduce the intensity and frequency of snoring in those with sleep apnea. More research needs to be done into people who snore, but don’t have sleep apnea.
More research needs to be done into whether mouth taping can cure sleep apnea. While some research suggests mouth taping can improve the symptoms of sleep apnea, it may not be able to cure the sleep disorder altogether.
RISE makes it easy to improve your sleep and daily energy to reach your potential
RISE makes it easy to improve your sleep and daily energy to reach your potential