Why do we sigh?

Tired, sad, depressed, … all of these feelings are very different, but sighing seems to be a common practice whenever you encounter those negative feelings.

In theory, there are many possible explanations, but no one is completely certain which one is correct. Now, researchers have discovered an explanation that could answer the question of why sighing.

Sigh is defined as a long breath, twice as deep as the normal breath. Sighing is considered to be related to your feelings and emotions. It is also a way to stretch the lungs – to inflate the alveoli, the small sacs in the lungs where oxygen and carbon dioxide enter and leave the blood.

Why do we sigh?
If you don’t sigh, your lungs will deteriorate over time.

That stretch is important for the lungs to function properly . “When the alveoli ‘collapse’, they give the lungs the job of exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide,” said Jack Feldman, a biologist at UCLA and one of the study’s authors. “ The only way to inflate them is with a sigh, which is a breath that is twice as long and deep as usual. If you don’t sigh, your lungs will deteriorate over time .”

That may be why the brain stimulates your body, so that you have to sigh about a dozen times an hour for humans, and sigh more often for animals. But scientists have never determined which neurons in the brain trigger this reflex.

The researchers decided to investigate the respiratory center in the brain. They analyzed the genes in those cells and discovered that hundreds of cells produce one of two chemicals that allow them to communicate with the “preBötzinger Complex” – a bundle of several thousand neurons that have control the rhythm and tone of the breath.

When the researchers injected these compounds, also known as “Nmb” or “Grp,” into the brains of mice, they found that the mice sighed 10 times more per hour. When they blocked the Nmb compound, the mice sighed less, half as much as normal, and even when suppressed, the mice almost didn’t sigh at all. These changes did not affect the normal breathing of the mice.

Similar patterns of compounds exist in humans, too, and the researchers believe they also contribute to the regulation of sighing. If doctors can increase these compounds, they can increase the frequency of sighing in patients with breathing difficulties, and reduce it in patients with psychological difficulties, or anxiety, making it difficult to breathe. they sigh too much.

Other studies on the psychology of sighing have concluded that the sigh can be used to indicate our emotions, or that sighing can act as a “reset button,” restarting the respiratory system. steamed . The researchers hope that understanding these things may be necessary and help in the treatment of respiratory patients.

Scientists believe they have discovered the secret behind human sighing. But they are still uncertain about how emotions and feelings affect sighing. “It’s possible that neurons in areas of the brain that control emotions are stimulated, and they lead to people sighing, but we’re not sure about that,” Feldman said.