The Nasal Cycle

Did you know we have a nasal cycle? It can help you understand your brain better, determine when you should rest or work, and tell whether your body is functioning at its best.

Nasal cycle

The Nose

The nose filters the air we breathe, makes it moist, and brings it to body temperature.

The anatomy of both nostrils is the same, and no one would ever think that each nostril would serve different purposes. However we consider it perfectly normal that the different sides of our brains serve different purposes: we understand that the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and vice versa. We acknowledge that each person has a dominant eye, a dominant hand, and one ear that is more sensitive than the other. So, it is logical to expect a difference between our two nostrils.

Around 80% of people experience a nasal cycle in the congestion of their nostrils, varying from 2-7 hours in length. Also, if you lie down on your side, you will notice that the nostril closest to the surface you are lying on becomes blocked while the other one clears up. The nose deserves more credit and importance than we give it.

The Nasal Cycle

Block one of your nostrils with your finger and breathe through your nose. Now do the same with the other side.

Which nostril had a stronger air flow? That’s the nostril that is currently dominant in your nasal cycle.

When your right nostril is dominant, the left side of your brain is functioning better. Your thinking, reasoning, and learning will be better at these times. Your metabolism and digestion will also be working faster. Things you should do when your right nostril is dominant:

  • Reading
  • Studying and/or teaching
  • Giving speeches, talking in public
  • Signing important documents
  • Exercising

After you eat, it is a sign of good digestion that your right nostril becomes dominant.

When your left nostril is dominant, the right side of your brain is functioning better. Your creativity and inspiration will be stronger in this case. Have you ever had those times where the information won’t sink in no matter how many times you read it? That’s probably because your left nostril and right brain were dominant. Things you should do when your left nostril is dominant:

  • Listening to music
  • Meditating
  • Creative writing
  • Socialising and relaxing
  • Drawing or other creative hobbies

It is very rare to have both of your nostrils in equal dominance for any length of time.

Balancing The Nasal Cycle

What’s great is that you can actually control your nasal cycle. For example, if you need your left brain activated so you can think, you’ll need your right nostril to be dominant. Lean to the left and your right nostril will clear naturally. You can even place your hand under your left armpit at the same time because there are certain pressure points that help clear the right nostril.

Sometimes you can even feel the shift between nostrils – especially if you have a blocked nose from a cold.

After eating, leaning to the left or even lying down on your left will aid digestion by making your right nostril dominant. It also makes use of gravity, so that the waste in your body can travel through the colon and encourage a healthy bowel movement. What’s more, lying on your left reduces acid reflux, improves circulation, encourages lymph node drainage, and encourages the movement of cerebrospinal fluid. Sleeping on your left is ideal for all of these reasons.

Our nasal cycle should rotate every few hours from left to right, but for some people one nostril always seems to be more dominant than the other. If our nostrils don’t balance regularly, it’s a sign of an imbalance in our systems. There are some very simple things we can do to restore balance:

  • If your right nostril is more dominant, you may find that your mind and/or mind is overactive and you may have trouble sleeping. Fall asleep on your right side when you go to bed.
  • If your left nostril is more dominant, you may find that you have trouble concentrating, making decisions, and your digestion may be sluggish. Fall asleep on your left side when you go to bed.

Alternate nostril breathing is also a great way to restore your natural nasal cycle.