How Nasal Breathing Helps Your Mood, Focus & Productivity
You color code like a beast, and your spreadsheets have spreadsheets. You're pretty much obsessed with getting things done. But if you're not breathing effectively, you're bound to feel sluggish and scattered. Mouth breathing during the day or in your sleep can contribute to a host of issues - and it could be sabotaging your daily routine. Find out how nasal breathing helps promote focus and calm so you can slay your day.
1. It Gives You Space To Think
You can't go too far on Instagram without coming across a strongly worded reminder to stop holding your breath. You can get so absorbed in your task, you stop noticing things like your tense posture and shallow breaths. One way nasal breathing helps your performance is it forces you to slow down. And while it might feel counterintuitive, moments of reflection actually help your workflow by unlocking your imagination. This is a critical skill as more workplaces turn to agile development and encourage creative brainstorming.
Nasal breathing also aids in memory and recall. Just like you need to recover after a workout so your muscles can build, your brain needs a chance to integrate new info after a long day. This is why sleep is actually part of your study routine - and why it's essential this restorative period doesn't get interrupted by snoring or sleep apnea.
2. It Helps You Sleep Better
One way mouth breathing gets in the way of your goals is it disrupts sleep. Snoring and sleep apnea wake you up throughout the night, leaving you depleted in the morning. This leads to irritability and low energy during the day. But the traditional solutions - medication, plastic surgery, and embarrassing head gear - have fallen out of favor. More people are turning to instant remedies like nasal dilators. Worn internally or externally, these are wearables that open your nostrils for better airflow.
3. It Regulates Noradrenaline
People who study yoga and meditation have long intuited that deep breathing improves mental clarity. A lot of mindfulness exercises simply encourage breath awareness, noticing how your chest rises and falls. But others take it a step further to breath control, with the specific goal of clearing your mind.
A Trinity College study recently found scientific support for this link, specifically that breathing regulates something called noradrenaline in the brain. While this chemical messenger has many functions, one is that too little of it makes you sluggish while too much makes you wired. You need just the right amount to stay sharp yet in control. The study suggests that people who focus better on tasks have more synchronization between their breathing and their attention (still with us?)
4. It Lowers Blood Pressure
You're pretty aware on a day to day basis of how your breath relates to your heartbeat. But nasal breathing also affects blood pressure. Nasal breathing lowers blood pressure by increasing nitric oxide in the bloodstream. This is a chemical that supports heart health by expanding your blood vessels and lowering blood pressure.
What's tricky about the daily speed bumps we encounter is we might not even notice them as "stress" or "anxiety" - but they still put our body on guard, which can have consequences for our health. That's why it's so beneficial to incorporate it as a practice to lower your risk of common issues like hypertension.
5. It Reduces Stress
You bought a yoga mat. You burned a candle. You cleared your inbox. But it's hard to remember you're a zen master when your shirt is dripping with cold brew and the printer's decided to quit. There's a reason people always say breathing in through your nose, out through your mouth will center you in times of stress: nasal breathing actually reduces anxiety. This is because it activates the parasympathetic nervous system.
You know the fight or flight response, which is when we go on autopilot to protect ourselves from danger. Our bodies can't distinguish real danger from ordinary stress (like sending a Snapchat to the wrong person). This triggers the sympathetic nervous system. Think of it like two circuits on a train track: they're both part of your make-up, but you can shift into one or the other by flipping a switch. When you breathe deeply, you're using a different pathway than when you hyperventilate - signaling to your brain that all is well.
Live and Breathe With HALE
Getting the most out of your day is as simple as breathing. At HALE we're developing a nasal breathing aid that can be worn invisibly, so you can get optimal performance at work and at play. Join the waitlist for our beta program, subscribe to our mailing list, and like us on social media to follow our progress to launch!