Last week was all about sleep - how to improve your sleep through light manipulation. We also discussed "positive perspective", and mental framings. Now we're bring them together. If you've never concentrated on your breathing before, it's time to start. In short, here's why:
- Increased oxygen intake & absorption
- Nitric Oxide production
- Prevent sleep apnea
- Fewer toxins
- Increase your stress threshold & reduce your trigger response
Increased Oxygen Intake & Absorption: Structurally, your nostrils are much smaller than your mouth. This creates a slower, steadier flow of oxygen to your lungs, which then allows the lungs to retain and absorb more oxygen. It also creates a backflow which can result in up to 20% more oxygen intake.
Nitric Oxide Production: Nitric Oxide is a natural vasodilator; meaning, it opens your blood vessels and allows more hemoglobin-carrying red blood cells to travel through, thereby increasing your endurance and recovery. Nitric Oxide is produced by our sinuses and excreted into the nasal cavity. Production is stimulated by nasal breathing.
- Note: Nitric Oxide, along with caffeine is the most common substance used to make pre-workout supplements.
Prevent Sleep Apnea, Fewer Toxins, Better Recovery: These two go hand-in-hand. While you are sleeping, your body is in a state of recovery. Breathing through our nose filters out the toxins we inhale with the cilia (nose hairs) lining our nose. Additionally, mouth breathing at night will often lead to us asphyxiating ourselves (i.e. sleep apnea).
One of the most important things our body does while we sleep is eliminate waste from our system. Most people think of the lymphatic system, but equally important is the glymphatic system -- the sewage system of our brain. This is only possible during deep sleep, and proper oxygen intake.
Increase Your Stress Threshold: Nasal breathing can help you stay in a "No-Go" response to certain stressors. Being able to stay calm while adrenaline is pumping through your body is incredibly difficult. However, there are various breathing techniques and studies that have shown nasal breathing can be incredibly beneficial (especially over mouth breathing) at reducing your immediate stress, or trigger response.