Why Sighing Is Extremely Important for Your Health
Sighs aren't just an expression of mental or physical exhaustion, relief, or frustration. It turns out they're actually a critical bodily function, a "life-sustaining reflex" that keeps our important 500 million air sacs, called alveoli, located in our lungs, from collapsing.
People sigh about 12 times every hour, or roughly once every five minutes. The UCLA researchers linked the reflex to healthy lung functions, finding that the intake of air via a sigh, which pulls in about twice the amount of oxygen than an average breath, serves to aerate your alveoli and allow them to inflate as they are meant to. On the other hand, the researchers also found that sighing is directly related to human emotions, with average sigh rates increasing in direct relation to stress levels. The study thus purports a sigh as a complex matrix comprised of physiological necessity and psychological input.
The next time someone glares at you for sighing too loudly, feel free to remind them that it's just your lungs doing their job (and maybe take a deep, clearing breath, while you're at it).
Do you notice a change in your breathing when you're feeling stressed? Tell us in the comments.