People sigh more when they are bottled up with emotional concerns, and others just sigh as a way of regulating their breathing and regularizing the functions of their lungs. Whatever way you look at it, scientists say sighing is good for you – and to underscore this fact, rodents sigh as much as 40 times per hour - the Seattle Times reports.
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Sighing is basically a reflex action and researchers say it is good because it keeps your lungs from collapsing, but some people do it when they are stressed or exhausted with life issues.
A team of researchers from the University of California in Los Angeles and Stanford University did not only establish the benefits of sighing in their study, they also pinpointed the exact origin of the act in the human brain.
In a study published in the journal Nature, the researchers pointed out that some people do not sigh while others do a little too much – and that the knowledge revealed by the study could help medical scientists treat personal problems triggered by emotional issues.
A professor of neurobiology at UCLA and a senior author of the study, Jack Feldman, disclosed that rodents sigh nearly 40 times per hour while humans only heave a sigh 12 times per hour – even though most people do not know that they sigh that much regardless of their emotional states.
Not all sighs are related to emotional disturbances and not all sighs are minded by the individual, but since they are largely involuntary and reflex, they aerate the millions of alveoli – tiny balloon-like sacs filled with air inside your lungs. These alveoli are where oxygen from your breath enters your bloodstream and carbon-dioxide removed from your lungs.
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Different researches conducted at Feldman’s lab at UCLA and biochemist Mark Krasnow’s lab at Stanford University revealed the process whereby the brain turns a regulated breath into a sigh. A number of neurons at the site where the brain controls breathing has been found to control sighing, and this discovery help scientists to help people with breathing and anxiety disorders.