Skip To Content

    Tumblr Asks The Most Important Question About Nostrils Ever

    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.

    Not everyone experiences a nasal cycle.

    giphbay / Via

    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.

    We won't really notice the nasal cycle.

    SBnation / Via

    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.

    But there's still a way to check which nostril is dominant during the nasal cycle.

    Cube Vision Productions / Via

    All you have to do is block each nostril and see if there's any difference in airflow resistance, said White.

    The nasal cycle happens because of erectile tissue in your nose.

    Logo TV / Via

    No, this doesn't have anything to do with a penis. LOL. So get that out of your mind. It's called erectile tissue because it fills with blood (just like an erection). When the tissue swells, it provides greater resistance to airflow, said White.

    What the hell is the purpose of the nasal cycle?

    MTV / Via Giphy

    "This question has been bothering me for quite a while," said White. The truth is, there are a lot of different answers and studies that attempt to answer this question.

    A 1999 Stanford University study claims the nasal cycle helps us smell better.

    Ripleys / Via

    Ironically, in the study, the congested nostril was able to smell certain things better than the dominant nostril and vice versa. White says the study is quite right, but we weren't able to find any other studies confirming or denying the claims.

    Another hypothesis suggests that our nasal cycle gives our noses a chance to rest. White believes this is also true.

    White believes the nasal cycle allows each of our nostrils to perform different functions.

    NBC / Via

    In White's study, he claimed that the dominant nostril performs the heating and humidifying duties, while the congested nostril does all of the "housekeeping duties" like transporting viruses and dust away.

    Here's another crazy theory: White thinks the reason why we have two nostrils in the first place is because of the nasal cycle.

    E! / Via

    If the nasal cycle didn't occur, then both airways would dry out and the nose wouldn't be able to perform its housecleaning duties.

    In conclusion, nobody really knows for sure why we have the nasal cycle, but there are a lot of different guesses.

    USA Network / Via

    "This is still a poorly understood physiological phenomena," said White.

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form