To ensure respiratory stability and flexibility, healthy breathing shows balanced variability consisting of considerable correlated variability (parameters of each breath are correlated to parameters of adjoining breaths) and some random variability. Sighing resets this balance when respiration lacks variability or becomes excessively irregular. The present study aimed to investigate the effect of imposed patterns of breathing variability on sighing and self-reported (dis)comfort. Spontaneous breathing was compared to imposed non-variable, correlated and random breathing. Results show that executing imposed breathing is difficult, demanding, and induces tension. Sigh occurrence following spontaneous and imposed breathing patterns could be predicted by self-reported discomfort and increased random variability. However, including non-variable, correlated and random breathing patterns only, the effects of self-reported discomfort on sigh occurrence override the effects of altered breathing variability.
- Imposed breathing
- Respiratory variability