While researching the science and culture of breathing for his new book, Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, journalist James Nestor participated in a study in which his nose was completely plugged for 10 days, forcing him to breathe solely through his mouth, reports NPR.
“I went from snoring a couple minutes a night to, within three days, I was snoring four hours a night,” he says of the forced mouth-breathing. “I developed sleep apnea. My stress levels were off the charts. My nervous system was a mess. … I felt awful.”“The nose filters, heats and treats raw air. Most of us know that. But so many of us don’t realize — at least I didn’t realize — how [inhaling through the nose] can trigger different hormones to flood into our bodies, how it can lower our blood pressure … how it monitors heart rate … even helps store memories. So it’s this incredible organ that … orchestrates innumerable functions in our body to keep us balanced.”