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What's Up with Yawning?

What's Up with Yawning?

Have you ever wondered why you yawn and …..why are yawns so contagious? Well, there really is no definitive answer but here are a few of the many facts garnered through years of studies.

First of all, did you know babies even yawn while they are in the womb? Well, that would get rid of the theory that yawning is a sign of fatigue or boredom. So, in this instance, that theory would not hold true.

When you yawn you take in a large amount of oxygen and your heart rate increases, which would make you more alert. Some scientists say that it may simply be a way that the body changes states of awareness. So, when you getting ready for bed a yawn could be a sign of the body's preparation for sleep. When you are bored and you yawn it has been suggested that your brain is changing from a high to a lower level of alertness. If you yawn after a good workout or activity it could be your body's way of changing from a high energy to a lower energy in the brain. And, of course, pressure changes can trigger yawning, like when you are traveling via air.

Yawns may be just a simple way to provide more oxygen when the body needs it and therefore a function of breathing. When your blood needs more oxygen, it can signal the brain to yawn which gives a big rush of oxygen to clear toxins out of the body with a fresh supply. It also cools the brain by stretching the jaw and increasing blood flow to the face and neck.

Another strange thing about yawns is the way they are contagious, a strange phenomenon indeed. It is well documented and you know this yourself as it happens to you quite often I'm sure as it does me. There is no understanding of this although humans and animals are known to pass yawns.

So many theories and no actual facts. I'm sure the oxygen replenishing is a big part of yawning. These were just a few things I found when searching for answers, for curiosity's sake.

Mary Crawford, HealthCare Employment Network

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