A deep breath through the nose boosts recall and stimulates the brain, according to a new study.
US scientists discovered that people can identify faces significantly faster when they are breathing in compared to when they are breathing out.
But breathing out through the mouth didn’t have the same effect, the study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, found.
“One of the major findings in this study is that there is a dramatic difference in brain activity during inhalation compared with exhalation,” lead author Dr Christina Zelano, assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University told the Telegraph.
“When you breathe in, we discovered you are stimulating neurons in the olfactory cortex, amygdala and hippocampus, all across the limbic system (which controls instinct and mood).
“When you inhale, you are in a sense synchronising brain oscillations across the limbic network.”
Scientists were assessing the brain activity of patients with epilepsy when they discovered the impact of breathing on brain activity.
Sixty volunteers were then tasked with identifying the expressions of faces while breathing in and out through the nose.
Breathing in helped participants clock the expressions significantly faster, according to the study.
The study concluded that a state of fear prompted people to take more breaths, increasing brain function and speeding up responses to dangerous stimuli.