The human body is incredible and does things automatically like keeping our heart beating, getting air into our lungs, and digesting our food without many of us noticing what is going on. But like a machine, there are things it does that may feel like it’s a glitch but is actually necessary for the basic functions of the human body.
It’s OK to be Smart is a web series from PBS that helps explain why things are the way they are. In this episode, host and series creator Joe Hanson addresses some common questions about our body’s involuntary actions. For example, he explains why our eyes sometimes twitch, why we hiccup, why we yawn, and why we sometimes get startled in our sleep. He also explains why some of us sneeze when staring at the sun.
One of the most common questions that Hanson addresses is, “Why does my eye keep twitching?” According to him, eye twitching is typically caused by stress, caffeine consumption, or eye strain.
Another question Hanson addresses is, “Why do I sneeze when I look at the sun?” This phenomenon, called the photic sneeze reflex, occurs in about 1 in 4 people. Hanson explains that it happens because the same nerve that controls our pupils also controls our nose, and the brightness of the sun can cause the nerve to misfire and trigger a sneeze.
Hanson also explains why we hiccup, which occurs when the diaphragm muscle spasms. He also explores why we yawn, which helps regulate our brain’s temperature and oxygen levels. Additionally, he explains what sleep starts feel like and why they happen. Sleep starts, also known as hypnic jerks, are those sudden twitches or movements that we sometimes experience just before we fall asleep.
Watch these 5 weird involuntary body behaviors explained…
While some of us may worry when these involuntary behaviors happen, Hanson assures us that they are perfectly normal actions.
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