Your Nose Has a Mind of Its Own

The nose and the nasal cavity have many different functions, including allowing us to breathe. It’s a natural process that we perform subconsciously. What we may not be aware of is that our brain is methodically switching our “dominant nostril” — the one we’re breathing from the most. Our nostrils are constantly taking turns in the lead role, and the side that’s in charge can actually correlate to activity in the brain. Known as the nasal cycle, the process is an unconscious action that sees the partial congestion and decongestion of the left and right sides of our snoot. The magic happens at what’s known as the “nasal conchae” — a long, narrow shelf of bone that’s found in both nostrils. The cycle can put our nose at a ration of 3:1 in terms of airflow. So, what’s the point? It’s mostly centered around moisture, pathogen clearance, and general nose maintenance. Our nostrils are filled with tiny hairs and mucus, which help to keep us healthy by trapping undesirables from the air before they can migrate to our respiratory system and make us sick. By switching from left to right, it’s possible that the nasal cycle reduces airflow on one side just long enough to keep it nice and moist before it picks up the slack once more while the other side gets a rest. So, who’s doing the lion’s share on your face right now?