Korean shows have been showing celebrities applying oral tape over their mouths before bed at night. This tape is supposed to be a sleeping aid meant to make the user breathe through the nose instead of through the mouth, resulting in a better night’s sleep.
CNN reports that the social media platform TikTok helped spread the use of oral tape without discussing its dangers. Using oral tapes is not advisable for individuals with obstructive sleep apnea, and they should thus seek medical advice before using them.
According to a 2019 study published in the journal Lancet Respiratory Medicine, there are over one billion people aged 30 to 69 that have this condition, and millions more remain undiagnosed. Obstructive sleep apnea is one of the most common yet dangerous sleep disorders, whether the complete or partial collapse of the airway.
Raj Dasgupta, a clinical medicine professor at the University of Southern California‘s Kek Medical School, warned that the dangers of oral tapes were not mentioned in the videos circulating on social media.
There is limited evidence on the benefits of mouth taping, and I would be very careful — and even talk to your healthcare provider before attempting it.
— Dr. Raj Dasgupta
The oral tape was seen several times in Korean domestic programs. The celebrities who have used it claim that the oral tape improves their sleep quality. Oral tape supposedly stimulates the nerves, helping the user to unconsciously or consciously close the mouth and breathe through the nose.
Breathing through the nose while sleeping allows the nose to purify the air and regulate humidity, as opposed to breathing through the mouth, which causes the throat to dry and causes damage to the respiratory tract. The quality of sleep also decreases when breathing through the mouth.
However, according to the Koslip Sleep Clinic, breathing through the mouth is also essential, especially when one is short of breath. This is why it’s important to check with a medical professional before using oral tapes or other sleeping aides.
Dr. Dasgupta suggested an alternative way of using the tape. “If you decide to try oral taping, don’t tape horizontally like a criminal’s hostage,” he advised.