Stop everything. Ok continue reading but do nothing else. Focus on your body. What are you doing right now? Just breathe. Focus on that breathing. Assuming your mouth is closed, you are breathing out of your nostrils. Or is it nostril, singular? It turns out that 85% of the population breathes out of only one nostril at a time. Read on to find out how this happens and why it may be important to know.
No, we are not kidding. It turns out that humans only use one nostril at a time for breathing. This discovery was made as far back as 1895. Yet it has not been properly understood until recently. People tend to breathe out of just one nostril at a time for around 4 hours before the cycle switches over to the other nostril. The number of hours, etc., can change from person to person and based on the activity you are doing.
The biology behind this is fascinating. It turns out that we all have erectile tissue in our nose. This tissue is similar to what exists in genitalia. Erectile tissue will swell in one nostril at a time. The nostril with swollen tissue will not be breathing while the other will.
Although we don’t know exactly why the body does this instead of using two nostrils simultaneously it appears to have something to do with brain function. Studies of the brain reveal that different things are happening when we are breathing out of each nostril. If you are breathing out of your right nostril then the left side of your brain hemisphere will be more active and vice versa. Scientists now believe that while we are sleeping on our side, this impacts which nostril we use, and is the reason that we tend to turn over while asleep in bed even if we are comfortable.
There you have it, an incredible mechanism you are likely doing right now and were unaware of. Use it to your advantage too. If you feel like using the right or left side of your brain more maybe you can lie down on one side to activate the part of the brain you want to awaken. We have no idea if that works but it sounds good to us.