Did You Know This About Your Nose?

If you did, you must be really nosy. Or just really into breathing techniques.

Adelina Vasile
3 min readApr 4, 2022


Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pixabay

Tell me, through which nostril are you breathing right now?

Cover one and breathe through the other. Switch and notice.

With one unobstructed nostril, you’re breathing easier than with the other. That’s the one currently more active.

Don’t worry, your nose is not stuck like that.

Here’s a little nasal awareness

Breathing is asymmetric and nostrils work one at a time. Or sort of.

We never breathe equally through both nostrils. There’s this thing called the nasal cycle that most people are unaware of.

Researchers don’t know how to reason with it. They assume why it happens, but can’t tell for sure.

And you just found out that we do 75% of the breathing through one nostril and 25% through the other, at any given time. Even when the nose isn’t congested.

Does one nostril go to one lung?

Some people have this question…

After all, we have two lungs, and two nostrils. Do they team up or switch turns?

Um, not really, because we only have one trachea that fuels our lungs with air.

But why do we have two nostrils, then?

Because we need two noses, just like we need two eyes and two ears.

The pair of eyes makes stereoscopic vision possible. The pair of ears makes stereo listening possible. And the pair of nostrils makes smelling a wider range of odors possible.

The nasal cycling means more than one thing

We have two noses packed in one, with each nostril acting as a smell receptor for different odor chemicals.

High up in the nose we have sensory cells that pick up these odor chemicals, but for some odors, the sensory cells need more time to detect them.

So scientists believe one reason why we breathe asymmetrically is that:

  • The decongested nostril takes in a higher airflow…



Adelina Vasile

Mother, educator, journalist, copywriter. I write about the things I need to learn myself. Check my Substack here >> https://undressingcopy.substack.com/