Did You Know? You might think that your nostrils share the work and both inhale and exhale together at the same time. And while they do, it’s not quite in the way that you might expect. You actually inhale and exhale through one nostril at a time, according to definitive research published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings in 1977. Every few hours, the active nostril will take a break and the other one will take over until they ultimately switch back again.