I have a habit of breathing through my mouth and keeping my mouth open while I sleep. I am trying to get over that habit. How can I prevent this?

6 Answers 6


While it may seem counter-intuitive, getting rid of your pillow can help!

  1. sleep on your back
  2. make a small pillow, or roll up a T-shirt and put it behind your neck, in the curve, right against the base of your skull

This will cause your head to position naturally, and will prevent you from sleeping with your mouth open.

  • Does this really work ?
    – Varun Nair
    Dec 7, 2015 at 7:11
  • @VarunKN I personally only sleep with my mouth open if nothing is supporting my lower jaw. (So, the muscle relaxes and gravity gently allows mouth to open). It makes sense to me, but I could see where it may not work in all cases. (For instance, if my nose gets blocked up from a cold while I sleep it is still going to happen) Dec 8, 2015 at 19:44
  • ahh.. all right. :)
    – Varun Nair
    Dec 9, 2015 at 5:14
  • i may have not completely explained this previously. first: DO NOT USE A PILLOW! it puts your neck into an awkward/unnatural position, which in turn sets your throat into an unnatural curve (causing snoring). Second, the small rolled-up shirt (Or small pillow) under the back ofthe neck helps align your throat to prevent snoring, and it puts your mouth/throat into a 'neutral' angle. third, if you have any congestion, work to minimize it. take as long (and as HOT) a shower as you can, keeping the front of your head in the hot water, to open airways and retard bacterial growth.. Dec 9, 2015 at 23:38

I have this problem too. This worked for me:

  1. Blow nose before falling asleep to have clear nasal passages.
  2. Lie on your side with your mouth somewhat pressed into the pillow. For me, the weight of my head holds my mouth shut to some degree. Of course I eventually roll over, but works for a bit.
  3. I started breathing and sleeping much better after once losing 15lbs so I am no longer overweight. This was my biggest change.
  4. I also found some foods aggravate my sinuses. I had no idea until I cut these out of my diet for a while.

There are commercial products that run elastic under the jaw and over the top of the head to hold the mouth closed. These are safe, because you an still open your lips and breathe past your teeth if your nose clogs (even if, for some reason, you're too disoriented to remove the elastic) and the elastic itself isn't strong enough to prevent wider, voluntary opening of your jaw if needed. You could improvise something similar with wide waistband elastic from a fabric store or even an elastic bandage (Ace bandage or equivalent) -- but be sure an improvised device isn't so tight you can't pretty easily open your jaw; it's there to prevent the jaw falling open when you're asleep, not to keep your teeth together against intentional effort.


It may be that your body is choosing its second-best breathing method to nose breathing because your sinuses have some degree of swelling. Swelling decreases during the day, as we are moving around going about our business, because physical activity decreases inflammation; but at night, as we are lying still, swelling, well, swells up. I was a primarily mouth-breather at night for many years, until I quit eating dairy products and my sinuses cleared right up. Come to find out, my (and my siblings') lifelong sinus issues were due to the inflammation caused by consuming milk, yogurt and cheese, in, I suppose you could say, "typical modern-day American quantities." (Lots! hehe) I am now a nighttime nose-breather. Yay. So, in short: consider whether your sinuses might be inflamed at night, and whether dairy could be a contributing factor.


Sleeping on your back actually causes you to breathe heavier. The heavier you breathe, the less oxygen your nasal passages can let pass through. This results in your mouth opening up naturally. Also, make sure your room and blankets aren't too warm. That can also result in heavier breathing.


This is perfectly normal. If you still want to avoid it, there are specialized adhesive tapes available in medical shops and over the internet. The following link should help you: Mouth Breathers

  • I wouldn't recommend a mouth closure that can't be quickly and easily removed; if your nose clogs up in the night (can happen due to dryness, allergy onset, a growing cold, etc.) a mouth closure you can't remove when barely awake could suffocate you.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Dec 28, 2016 at 12:08

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