Why The Heck Do We Even Have Two Nostrils?

We went crazy trying to solve this Tumblr mystery.


Tumblr user Stolenfruitsnack asked us this very important question that BLEW OUR MINDS:

OMG! Do we actually have a dominant nostril?

Yes — it’s true! A lot of people have a dominant nostril that does most of the breathing.


This is because of the nasal cycle, said David White, Ph.D., the senior lecturer and director at Auckland University of Technology's Design for Respiratory Health Lab and author of a 2015 paper about the nasal cycle. During the nasal cycle, one nostril is blocked (you're still able to breathe out of it, but you're only able to breathe around one-third to two-thirds of the normal airflow). The dominant nostril switches every 90 minutes or so, but the duration is different for every person.


Not everyone experiences a nasal cycle.

Not everyone experiences a nasal cycle.

White says that it's around 20% to 80% of the population, which isn't really a specific number. “The number varies in publications, mainly because the way people measure it is not accurate,” he said. What's even more mind-blowing, however, is that people with some disorders like autism or schizophrenia don't demonstrate a nasal cycle at all.

giphbay / Via giphy.com

We won’t really notice the nasal cycle.

We won't really notice the nasal cycle.

Although you might be able to notice a dominant nostril if you're lying on your side, said White. If you do notice a sustained dominant nostril 24/7, then you might have a deviated septum, he said.

SBnation / Via giphy.com

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