Breathing through your nose may improve memory.

I recently read an article in the magazine Sleep Review and it was very interesting. In this article, it stated that breathing through your nose may actually improve memory. That really is great to hear and understand. This is based on a study published in The Journal of Neuroscience. In this study, researchers examined the effect of respiration on consolidation of episodic odor memory.

How memory works with sleep

Both female and male participants encoded odors. This was followed by a one hour awake resting consolidation phase where they either breathed solely through their nose or mouth. Immediately after this phase, memory for odors was tested. Recognition memory saw a significant increase during nasal respiration compared with mouth respiration.

From this we see the first evidence that respiration directly impacts consolidation of episodic events. It also supports the idea that core cognitive functions are modulated by the respiratory cycle–adding to the influence of respiration on human perception and cognition.

While the study did not look at brain activity, it did suggest that nose breathing may facilitate communication between sensory and memory networks. This is because memories are replayed and strengthened during consolidation.

Encourage your patients to take deep breaths through their nose to help improve their memory. This can also help their stress levels. It is an all around good idea for their health and well-being.

The Holiday Season Brings Stress

For many, stress is the culprit to their facial pain, which means finding ways to combat stress is vital in preventing pain. Stress affects almost everyone at some point in their lives, and approximately 77 percent of people reported that they experienced physical symptoms due to stress—that’s a lot of people! To help your patients this holiday season, here are some tips you might want to share with them to help combat stress:

Be Aware

If you are feeling stressed, take a moment to notice if you’re carrying tension in your jaw. You might even notice that you are grinding your teeth. If so, it’s important to be able to pinpoint these moments throughout the day. The more you can make yourself aware of the situation, the faster you’ll be able to stop yourself from clenching and grinding when you feel anxious. When this happens, loosen your jaw and massage the muscles. Doing this might relieve some of the tension and keep pain at bay.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, but sleep is extremely important. You should be getting at least eight hours of sleep a night in order to feel fully rested the next day. Having trouble sleeping? Make sure that electronic devices, caffeine or afternoon naps aren’t to blame. Keep your room at a comfortable temperature and leave distractions out of the bedroom for a restful sleep.

Watch What You Eat  

Your diet and stress are closely linked, and often times we don’t eat healthy when we have an impending deadline or a long workday. It’s sometimes faster just to run to the vending machine for a sugary snack than it is to pack something healthy. However, try to plan ahead before you leave for work. Be sure to stock up on fruits, vegetables and foods rich in omega-3s, which have been shown to reduce stress. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the sudden energy zap that often accompanies chowing down on a candy bar.

Don’t Forget to Exercise

You’re probably wondering when you could possibly have time to exercise; however, we don’t necessarily mean pumping iron at your local gym. Exercise is anything that gets the blood flowing, which triggers endorphins. Take a quick jaunt around the office or take a quick walk during your lunch break. You wouldn’t believe how just a little bit of movement throughout the day can instantly brighten a stressed mood.

Do you have any tips that help you deal with stress during the holiday season? I’d love to hear what they are and how they might help your patients!