James Nestor, the author of Breath spent five years studying how breathing practices can improve even the most chronic health ailments—from scoliosis to emphysema and more.
This 70-minute interview is well worth your time:
You can learn more about:
-Simple ways to improve lung function
-Solving chronic sleep issues with easy breathing practices
-Why lung function is linked with mortality
-What breath holds are and how they work to improve the oxygenation of your body
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03:45 Use your nose for breathing. It is your primary filter, your first line of defense. Even if your nose is stuffed, persist with nasal breathing. Breath right strips and some sprays are good for opening nasal passages.
05:35 Kids with ADHD, once they start breathing through their nose, have a reduction in symptoms.
05:46 Neurological function and metabolism are linked to the way you breathe.
07:26 The less you use your nose, the less you will be able to use your nose.
07:50 Mouth taping during sleep is for training yourself to keep your mouth shut. You don’t need to seal your lips. You only need a small piece of tape.
09:32 When breathing through your nose, you pull air through a labyrinth of structures. Air is slowed, pressurized and filtered. Nasal breathing increases nitric oxide, which interacts directly with viruses and bacteria.
11:30 The need to breathe is dictated by CO2, not oxygen.
12:50 Our noses are closely connected to our genitals. Some people start sneezing uncontrollably when they are aroused. Nose and genitals are covered in the same tissue.
14:00 If you have a hard time breathing through your nose, do some exercise and only breathe through your nose. Developing this ability is a slow process. Be persistent. It enhances the neuromuscular connection so you remember to breathe through your nose. Never work out harder than you can breathe correctly.
16:05 You can increase the size of your airway with appliances that broaden your pallet. Chewing your food helps, as does oropharyngeal exercises.
16:18 By exercising your tongue, you can help open the airway. In a study of people with chronic snoring and sleep apnea, participants did 30 rounds of simple oropharyngeal exercises. Your tongue is a powerful muscle. If you are not using it throughout the day, it becomes out of shape.
18:11 If you are not chewing enough to work out your jaw, especially when you are young, you stunt the development of the airway.
18:22 Jaw and airway development begins with breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a form of chewing. It creates a wider pallet and increases airway size. People who have been breastfed as infants have less incidence of snoring and sleep apnea as adults.
19:40 Chewing increases circulation to the brain, increases parasympathetic response, helps drain fluid from your sinuses and more.
21:25 The Framingham study found that the most accurate marker of longevity was lung size and respirator health.
22:20 Nasal breathing helps us take slower deeper breaths.
26:50 How you breathe affects your posture and your posture affects how you breathe.
28:20 Diaphragmatic movement is essential to breathe. To get a full enriching breath in, you need to get the stale air out. Inhalations are easy. We need to focus on our exhalation. Many of us are breathing too much.
32:27 If you breathe at a rate of 20 breaths per minute, you get 50% efficiency. If you breathe at 12 breaths per minute, efficiency increases to 70%.
33:54 Carbon dioxide kicks the oxygen off hemoglobin. You also need carbon dioxide for vasodilation. When we breathe off too much CO2, we shift our blood into our core. It also pulls us into the sympathetic response.
38:30 Right nostril breathing activates more heat, blood pressure will go up and heartrate will go up, more connections will be made on the left side of the brain.
38:44 Left nostril breathing is cooling, lowers heartrate, blood pressure reduces and more responses are triggered on the Right side of the brain.
47:00 Waking up with a dry mouth is a symptom of sleep disordered breathing. You lose 40% more water breathing through your mouth. Breathing through the nose reclaims that moisture. Vasopressin is the hormone that allows us to store water when we sleep. It is released during deep sleep.
48:47 Women who urinate more than 2 times a night, have an increase of mortality by a significant amount. It indicates that they are not reaching deep stages of sleep.
50:39 Hypoventilation is like altitude training that you can do anywhere.
51:50 You will lose more weight with hypoventilation training. Fat burns with oxygen.
55:00 People with anxiety, panic, and even asthma, have a low tolerance for CO2. When you can’t breathe, your CO2 goes up. Teaching these people to tolerate healthy levels of CO2, asthma and panic diminishes to the point where meds may not be needed.
58:04 Anxiety and panic may be a physical problem and not a mental problem. Along the phrenic nerve, that controls the diaphragm, 80% of the messages are from the body to the brain.
01:00:55 Diaphragm works like a pump for lymph fluid.
01:05:08 Cancer starts and progresses in areas of low oxygen.
01:08:23 Respiratory gasses can be measured with a blood draw.