I have a lot of respect for people whose work consists mainly of teaching music. It’s a very demanding type of work that requires lots of energy and concentration. When I used to teach at a music school, I’d be completely wiped out at the end of the working day. And sure, it got better as I gained more experience but I was still pretty tired.
Aside from the sheer brain power it requires though, it turns out there’s another thing that could be contributing to the fatigue. Think about it. What do you do when you teach a lot? You talk a lot! And what happens when you’re talking? You’re blowing out air through your mouth.
A TRIP THROUGH THE AGES
About 800 000 years ago, our ancestors discovered using fire to cook food. This resulted in our brains getting bigger but it also meant that the jaw became smaller and this affected the depth of our airways. These days they are way more narrow than back then which is why people often end up mouth breathing.
THE BAD GUY
Why should this be a bad thing though you might think? You see, one of the things that happens when you breathe through your mouth is you’re blowing out a lot of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). CO2 has a bit of a bad rep. We tend to think Oxygen = good, CO2 = bad. But it’s not quite as simple.
Here’s the thing, the oxygen molecules travel through the bloodstream attached to hemoglobin proteins. And the only way they can detach themselves and travel to the areas where they’re needed is when you have enough CO2 in your blood. So if you blow out all the CO2 by mouth breathing, oxygen can’t get to where it’s needed and you might feel more tired.
Mind blowing, right?
You may think that’s all well and good but I need to talk in lessons. How can I make sure there’s enough CO2 in my system? Just go back to nasal breathing whenever you can. It’s not dangerous to mouth breathe for a little bit but we shouldn’t be doing it as a habit. And remember, your body always adapts. The more you nose breathe, the more your nasal passages will open up and it will become much easier to nose breathe.
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