Why do we sigh? - Healthbiztips

What's the use of sighing?


Aren't you curious why we sigh?

If you think that people sigh solely as a sign that they are having a really bad day, then you're wrong.

You see, sighing is a lot more complex than you might think.

Why do we sigh? - Healthbiztips
Why do we sigh? - Healthbiztips

Why do we sigh?

Sighing is important to ensure we continue breathing normally.

In order to show how severe the lack of the ability to sigh is, scientists genetically altered mice to loose their ability to sigh. Shockingly, those mice soon died from respiratory problems.

You can imagine just how crucial the ability to sign is when you reflect on that experiment.


Sighing means survival

Sighing is more than just an expression of one's bad mood, in fact babies sigh more than adults do.

Every few minutes, a baby sigh to aid their underdeveloped lungs to take in more oxygen. Sighing is so crucial that a baby's inability to sigh is a linked to sudden infant death syndrome.

Preterm babies tend to sigh more than term birth babies

Here's another cool fact: Did you know that babies sigh even when they are sleeping?


Emotion and Mood

Our current emotional state or mood can influence us to sigh. For example, it is observed that people experiencing panic tend to sigh more in addition to their tendency to hyperventilate.

Sighing doesn't only imply bad emotional state. In fact, we can also sigh when we feel relieved.


Benefits of sighing

Sighing expands the lung's alveoli which drives more oxygen to the circulation and prevents lung collapse.

During times when a person is experiencing hypoxia, sighing is crucial.

Sighing occurs more frequently when a person's breathing becomes abnormal such as in cases of irregular breathing and hyperventilation.


How often do we sigh?

Sighing is involuntary so oftentimes, we are not aware of it. You may not realize it but under normal condition, an average human being sigh 12 times each hour.

Sighing is important for lung expansion as it allows us to take in twice as much air compare to a normal breath. If a person looses the ability to sigh, chances are, his lungs will collapse.


I hope this gives you some idea on how vital sighing is to our life.


Resources:

Ramirez J. M. (2014). The integrative role of the sigh in psychology, physiology, pathology, and neurobiology. Progress in brain research, 209, 91–129. doi:10.1016/B978-0-444-63274-6.00006-0

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