People with sleep disorders may find mouth tape helpful to regulate airflow through the nose. However, there is limited evidence on its use for all sleepers, so a person should consult a doctor before trying it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than a third of adults in the United States are regularly not getting enough sleep.

A lack of sleep or sleep deprivation can make it hard to carry out daily tasks, perform at work, or even drive safely.

Mouth tape for sleep may have the potential to enhance a night of rest and may contribute to the reduction of snoring.

This article will go over all there is to know about mouth tape for sleep, its use for sleep apnea and snoring, other benefits, and where to purchase it. It will also look at the potential risks and alternatives to mouth tape.

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Mouth tape typically comes as an adhesive strip that people wear over the mouth. Individuals who use mouth tape for sleeping apply the tape to their mouth directly before bed.

The human nose is a specialized breathing instrument. However, up to 50% of people breathe through their mouths, especially early in the morning.

Individuals with small or blocked nasal passages may experience chronic nasal congestion or allergies when sleeping with their mouths open. This may result in issues like:

Mouth tape gently holds the lips together during sleep, and there is a possibility that it can help regulate airflow through the nose. Mouth taping may dissuade people from breathing through their mouths and help prevent or lessen the impact of the above dental or sleep issues.

Read more from MNT’s Science of Sleep hub.

The effects of mouth taping for sleep will vary between individuals. Anyone interested in mouth taping should speak with a doctor first to ensure this technique is safe.

A pilot study analyzed the effectiveness of wearing breathable patches — porous oral patches — over the mouth during sleep. This study found that participants with snoring and sleep apnea benefitted from wearing mouth tapes while sleeping. However, the reduction in snoring was limited as the study was small-scale.

Read more about sleep disorders.

Mouth taping may pose a risk for certain individuals with undiagnosed or untreated sleep apnea. If these individuals also have obstructed nasal passages, mouth taping could restrict airflow. This may result in nighttime awakenings and, in extreme cases, contribute to asphyxiation.

Additionally, some people may experience irritation or an allergic reaction to a mouth adhesive. This reaction may develop over time, causing a rash to appear on the face or lips. People may also feel discomfort wearing an adhesive over their mouth at night.

Anyone who struggles with nasal airflow should consult a doctor before trying mouth tape. People with allergies should confirm that the mouth tape does not contain known allergens.

People can purchase a wide range of mouth tape products, several of which are available online.

Treatments for snoring or other sleep disturbances depend on the underlying cause. People may explore various options for improving their sleep, including:

Lifestyle changes

Several lifestyle modifications can help improve the quality of life for people with sleep apnea, such as:

  • reducing excess weight if necessary
  • quitting smoking, if the person smokes
  • eating a balanced diet
  • exercising
  • reducing alcohol intake

Read more about home remedies for sleep apnea.

Continuous positive airway pressure machines

Some individuals with sleep apnea wear a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine over their noses while sleeping. This device uses mild air pressure to open breathing passages.

A healthcare professional can help a person find the most comfortable mask and learn how to adjust pressure settings.

Some people may notice immediate benefits after starting CPAP treatment, such as:

  • improved sleep quality
  • reduction or elimination of snoring
  • less daytime sleepiness

Find information about choosing the best CPAP machine here.

Other options

Anti-snoring chin straps may be another good option. These straps, which can also help keep the mouth closed and regulate airflow, are available online.

Adhesive nasal strips may also help people who experience snoring and mouth breathing. A 2018 study demonstrated that nasal strips significantly improved nasal congestion and sleep quality.

Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about mouth taping for sleep.

Does mouth taping help sleep?

The benefits of mouth taping for sleep vary between people. Some people who experience chronic mouth breathing may find that taping improves the airflow through their nose and sleep quality.

How do I keep my mouth closed while sleeping?

Taping the mouth can help it stay closed during sleep. Some individuals may prefer to use a chin strap that they can wear to keep the lips together.

Can you suffocate from mouth taping?

There are currently no reports of suffocation from mouth taping. However, people with blocked nasal passages may find that mouth taping reduces their airflow. Anyone interested in mouth taping should speak with a doctor first to make sure it is safe for them.

What kind of tape do you use for mouth taping?

There are a number of specialized mouth tapes available. People wear some tapes horizontally across the mouth and others vertically in line with the septum.

Mouth taping may have the potential to regulate nasal airflow during sleep. The tape may also reduce snoring or other negative effects of a person breathing through their mouth.

There is still limited evidence on the universal benefits of mouth tape, so those considering mouth taping should always consult a doctor beforehand.