Small or Collapsing Nostrils
We probably do not think about 'how' we breathe as it is a natural function and happens anyway. However, how we breathe is important especially at night.
During sleep we are designed to breathe through the nose. If for any reason nasal breathing is not possible our body's self-preservation mechanism forces us to breathe through the mouth. There are several reasons as to why some people find it difficult to breathe through the nose during sleep.
- Size of nostrils
- Nasal collapse (alar collapse)
- Nocturnal nasal congestion (rhinitis)
- Nasal obstruction (anatomic abnormalities)
These features increase nasal resistance, commonly known simply as 'nasal resistance'. Nasal resistance may be a contributing factor in the occurrence of sleep disordered breathing, upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS), snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). Madronio et al (2004) studied a group of 43 subjects and reported that those who were nocturnal 'mouth breathers' tended to experience more apnoea events than those with predominantly nasal breathing. They also concluded that mouth breathing may increase the risk of upper airway collapse as the respiratory muscles are 'route dependent' and mouth breathing interferes with the normal passage of air passing into the lungs. If oxygen is unable to be delivered around the body and in particular to the brain during sleep, sleep quality is affected and may lead to the condition known as excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS).
This relationship between nasal resistance and sleep disordered breathing was first noted in the 1800's when it was concluded that by dilating the nostrils these undesirable effects could be relieved (Rappai M 2003). Since then many studies have concluded that the use of nasal dilators can improve both nocturnal breathing and sleep quality for individuals who are affected by nasal resistance.
The scientific principle behind nasal dilation is based on physiology and physics and the effect is to dilate the air passage of the nose and to stiffen the nasal wall. Both mechanisms reduce nasal resistance and allow higher flow of air.
In 1988 Professor Petruson of Sweden invented a simple nasal dilator called Nozovent. Over the years it has proved to be one of the most popular and easy to use devices to enhance nasal breathing. This device is not just for snorers but can be used by anybody who suffers from nasal resistance.
Why not try our simple 'nose test' to see if you are suffering from nasal resistance ...