Spike, it depends on the mask you are using. If you have a nasal pillow or nasal mask then you have to breathe through your nose. With that type of mask it is really hard to breathe through your mouth because air pressure will cause air to only come out. With a full face mask that covers your nose and mouth, it doesn't really matter. A full face mask is suited to those who can't keep their mouth closed during sleep.
Thanks for clarifying that! I use a nasal mask. I just took a 30 minute nap breathing only through my nose and I feel fantastic!
I am a dentist working in dental sleep medicine. Well, obviously, breathing through either your nose or your mouth will keep you alive. However, in terms of best health, breathing through your nose is definitely preferable. Your nasal passages are designed to filter and improve the air that you breathe. The nasal hairs trap and filter bacteria and other impurities in the air. Your nasal turbinates and linings humidify and heat the air for better absorption by the lungs. Nitric oxide, secreted by the nasal sinuses, acts as a natural disinfectant for your respiratory system and facilitates the absorption of oxygen by the alveoli in the lungs. So, we encourage nasal breathing, if at all possible. Arthur B. Luisi, Jr., D.M.D.
Spike, don't feel bad. My therapist started me off on a nose pillow to which I got no sleep at all the first night. I learned real quick that I could not have my usual evening conversation with my wife. Then I felt uncomfortable with the octopus wrapped around my head. And I had anxiety over loosing my evening snuggle time!! The first time I opened my mouth I was surprised as air started blowing out making me gasp for air. Then about a hour into the night my face turned into a blow fish and I couldn't hold my cheeks in. Then another time I woke up as my lips were flapping away as air was blowing out uncontrollably. After a while I gave up with the whole thing and laid there wondering how I'd ever adjust to this nightmare. The next night I tried again with similar results. Then after a couple weeks of failures I got a call from someone whom was monitoring my progress via cell technology. I gave them a piece of my mind to which they were grateful that I hadn't tossed the machine out the window. They suggested trying to watch TV during the day while practicing using the machine. GASP, now not only am I to go all night without sleep but also waist half my day doing nothing..... Probably the most distracting was the time I woke up in the middle of the night with air blowing out my tear ducts making bubbles in my eyes. To say the least, this has been a huge learning curve and adjustment for me. I'm wearing a mask that pillow's the nose and covers the mouth now to which I'm having minimal success. A couple of times I/ve woke up with dry mouth to where my tongue is glued to the roof of my mouth and my cheeks dried onto my teeth,,,, what an experience. After a month or so I started doing my own research on the internet. As a result I purchased a O2/heart beat monitor that I wear on my finger and wrist. Now I feel like a rat in a science lab more than ever. I remember celebrating when I made it four hours. I'm not sure if I'm gonna make 62 because of it or in spite of it!! So far my daily productivity has declined dramitically, I'm up half dozen times or more a night fiddle xx around with hoses getting drinks of water or trying to get the mask to seat. Good luck!!