Published 05 September 2023

Physiological Sigh Benefits

Discover how controlling your breath can instantly reduce stress and improve overall wellbeing.

There are various breathing exercises that are scientifically proven to reduce stress in real-time and improve overall wellbeing, including the physiological sigh. In this article, we’ll explore how this simple technique can help us feel calmer, think clearer, and sleep better.

What is a physiological sigh?

The physiological sigh is a simple practice popularized by Dr. Andrew Huberman. It involves a deep inhale through the nose, another sharp inhale, and then a long exhale through the mouth.

Take a deep breath, filling your lungs entirely on the first inhale. Then, push yourself to go even further on the second breath, aiming for 110% capacity. If you realize you could have taken in more air after the second breath, you weren’t breathing in to your fullest capacity initially—so, give it another shot.

Emotional and psychological benefits

When feeling stressed or upset, breaths tend to become short and shallow, which is where the physiological sigh can help.

Through deep, controlled breaths, physiological sighs trigger the parasympathetic nervous system. This system is responsible for promoting relaxation and calming the body’s stress response. The signal sent to the body through this controlled breathing is interpreted as a cue to relax, which helps release tension and promote a sense of calmness.

If you find your breathing affected by heightened emotional states, take a few physiological sighs, and you’ll notice an immediate difference.

When practiced regularly, physiological sighs have been proven to help reduce stress and enhance cognitive function. Adding the physiological sigh to your routine, you’ll become more mindful and emotionally aware, helping you deal with stress, promoting resilience and mental clarity.

Improved respiratory function

Physiological sighs also support respiratory homeostasis by optimizing lung function. Taking a deep breath in and a long breath out maximizes the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs.

It also helps clear out any carbon dioxide left inside the alveoli—the small air sacs in the lungs. This helps ensure that the body maintains proper levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide, which is essential for respiratory balance and overall health.

Sleep regulation

You might already be doing this breathing exercise without even knowing it. During deep sleep, our bodies can involuntarily breathe in this pattern to flush out built-up carbon dioxide.

Disrupted breathing throughout the night can lead to poor sleep quality and daytime fatigue. Conscious control of breathing while awake, like physiological sighs, can potentially help train your subconscious to breathe more peacefully during sleep.

Practicing physiological sighs for just 5 minutes on a daily basis can also lower your resting breath rate, indicating a sense of overall calmness, helping you fall asleep and stay asleep.

Where to start?

So, you’ve now learned about the benefits of physiological sighs, but how do you incorporate it into your routine?

Simply download the free Virtusan App on iOS or Android, add Physiological Sigh to your Routine, and opt in to receive friendly reminders to keep you on track. You’ll even be guided by the expert who started it all—Dr. Andrew Huberman.

Conclusion

Physiological sighs enhance both physical and emotional wellbeing. By incorporating controlled breathing techniques into your daily routine, you can build stress resilience, as well as improve cognitive and respiratory functions.

Whether used to find immediate calm in moments of tension, optimize lung health, or promote better sleep, the benefits of physiological sighs are accessible to all. With practice, you can harness the potential of breathwork for greater resilience, clarity, and overall vitality in our lives.

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