Mind & Body

You Spend 10% Of Your Waking Life Blinking

You blink constantly. It's a reflex you can't control, which is good, because you need it to keep your eyes from drying out. In fact, 10% of your waking hours are spent blinking, which equates to more than 90 minutes if you get eight hours of sleep. But lubricating your eyes is only one thing blinking accomplishes. You blink at predictable moments, such as when the action wanes in a TV show, when a friend pauses between statements, or when you reach the period at the end of this sentence. This leads scientists to believe that blinking is a way for the mind to give itself a moment of rest in the middle of the action. Indeed, a study in which people watched TV clips found that brain activity in an area associated with wakeful rest spiked each time the subjects blinked during a scene. You also blink to reset the tiny muscles that control your eye. A 2016 study asked subjects to follow a rotating series of dots with their eyes. The scientists noticed that at the exact points when the muscles would reset to avoid becoming twisted, the subjects would blink, which uncovered a phenomenon they dubbed "blink-associated resetting movement." Learn more about blinking with the videos below.

Why Do We Blink?

There are many more reasons than keeping our eyes moist.

Is It Actually Dangerous To Keep Your Eyes Open When You Sneeze?

For one thing, you probably can't do it anyway.

More Cool Things About Your Body

How old is your skin? How many times a day does your heart beat?

Key Facts In This Video

  1. The cells in the inner lens of your eye and your heart muscles have been with you for your entire life. 00:26

  2. Your fingers can detect a ridge that's 7,500 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. 01:12

  3. Some people have more bacteria in their mouth than there are humans in the world. 02:05

Written by Curiosity Staff September 1, 2016

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