Can holding your breath cause brain damage?
"I subconsciously hold my breath a lot when I am working on schoolwork and stuff. I heard that it can cause brain damage and now I'm really freaked out."
We all have nervous habits that come out when we are stressed or really focused, from mindless snacking to chewing the end of a pencil or holding your breath. However, that last one can become dangerous if you aren't careful. According to Reader's Digest, blocking your intake oxygen for more than a few minutes can increase your levels of a protein called S100B, which is a marker for brain damage. There are a number of additional negative side effects to holding your breath for too long, such as reduced coordination, increased blood pressure and a chance of passing out. You can read about these symptoms and other potential dangers from holding your breath for too long via the National Library of Medicine (PubMed.gov).
If holding your breath is a habit you have while studying, it's best to try to become more conscious of it the next time you sit down to write a paper. If you need some other activity to perform while studying to help you concentrate, try squeezing slime or playing with a fidget spinner and see if that takes away from your tendency to stop breathing.
Remember that oxygen is one of the most important chemicals for the human body to ingest and that if you aren't getting enough you won't be able to think as clearly or be as healthy in the long run! The most important thing is to take care of yourself and your body and make sure that you are giving yourself *all* the proper tools to succeed.
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