Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by amanda. amanda Wonders, “why do people breath naturally before they learn” Thanks for WONDERing with us, amanda!
Do you remember the first thing you did when you were born? Of course not! We human beings have fairly good memories, but our brains usually can't conjure up the first sensations we encountered upon birth.
If you were like most babies, though, your first couple of actions were probably taking your first breath and then crying. Did you think about taking that first breath? Nope! Breathing comes automatically for human beings, and it's a good thing it does!
Think about how forgetful you can be sometimes. Did you remember to do all your homework? Did you remember to make your bed? Did you remember to turn out the light in the bathroom? There are so many things to remember and, let's face it, sometimes we just forget things.
Forgetting to breathe, though, could have deadly consequences. Without the oxygen we breathe, our bodies couldn't function the way that they need to. Fortunately, our brains take care of breathing automatically, so we don't have to worry about forgetting to do it.
How do our brains run our breathing on autopilot? There's actually a respiratory control center located at the base of your brain. It sends the signals down your spine that keep your muscles involved in breathing working all the time.
The respiratory control center also monitors sensors in the blood vessels, muscles, and lungs that measure the amount of carbon dioxide, oxygen, and acidosis in the blood. This allows your brain to adjust your breathing to meet the changing needs of your body.
For example, you've probably noticed that you breathe harder when you exercise. That's because carbon dioxide levels increase when you exercise. Your body's sensors measure that increase and communicate with the respiratory control center to increase your breathing rate to increase the amount of oxygen you're taking in.
Likewise, the respiratory control center can detect when you've turned in for the night. As you sleep, your brain slows your body's breathing rate, so that you can sleep peacefully while still getting the oxygen your body needs. All this happens automatically without conscious thought.
Breathing isn't the body's only automatic process. There are many different bodily processes that occur without conscious thought. For example, you don't have to think about digesting your food after you eat and you don't have to consciously make your heart pump blood.
Breathing, however, differs from these other bodily processes in an important way. Although breathing is usually automatic, it can also be controlled voluntarily to an extent. If you think about it, you can start breathing faster any time you want to. You can also hold your breath and refuse to breathe for a certain, limited amount of time.