According to a new study, the more we sigh, the better we breathe.
It appears that our ability to sigh is closely related to the functioning of our lungs. Experts claim they are looking for new treatments for people who either sigh too much or not enough.
A team of scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles and Standford University discovered that sighing is an important process which prevents an individual’s lungs from collapsing. Moreover, it is believed people do not realize how much they breathe.
According to Jack Feldman, neurobiologist at UCLA, the majority of individuals sigh almost 12 times per hour. He also suggested a test people can take in order to see how much they sigh in an hour. By lying down in a quiet room you will find that every time you inhale an extra inhalation is added before the final exhale.
Feldman noted these sighs have no connection with a person’s emotions. Sighing adds a short burst of air which reinflates the alveoli in our lungs. The alveoli are the sacks where oxygen goes in the bloodstream and carbon dioxide is removed. If the alveoli collapse, the only way to restore them is by sighing. Feldman said this process doubles the volume of a normal breath.
Moreover, it was discovered that humans are not the only ones who sigh on a regular basis. Rodents are considered to sigh more frequently than humans. They take a double inhale up to 40 times per hour. An experiment conducted on mice revealed that a type of neuropeptides affects sigh rates in the small animals.
Moreover, the peptides triggered another group of neurons which induce a sigh by controlling the breathing muscles. The same type of peptides is found in humans. They are active in the area of the brain which controls breathing and have a key role in sighing.
Feldman explained that
“One of the holy grails in neuroscience is figuring out how the brain controls behavior. Our finding gives us insights into mechanisms that may underlie much more complex behaviors”.
Even if sighing is not necessarily related to our emotions, humans definitely sigh more when they feel stressed or depressed. These discoveries are believed to help researchers find drugs that might help in controlling the ability to sigh. Researchers concluded that sighing is a healthy process and the more we sigh, the better we breathe.
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