Yawning is not only out of boredom
For a long time, science believed that yawning comes from a lack of oxygen. Like, breathing deeply with a yawn, a person unconsciously feeds himself with the necessary gas. But experiments did not confirm the hypothesis. Do you know that we are starting to yawn not only from tiredness and drowsiness? Yawning is a helpful reaction that can alert you to illness.
Perhaps a yawn cools the brain
The yawning phenomenon haunts researchers. Studying a yawning man, scientists, for example, found that coolness around the head reduces craving for yawning. The subjects put a cold towel on their forehead – and they, a minute ago, frantically yawning, ceased to open their mouths soundlessly. Replacing a cold compress with a warm one, the researchers noticed that yawning was returning and intensifying.
The same thing happened with those participants in the experiment who were asked to breathe through their mouth or nose. With nasal breathing, the blood flowing to the brain cools a little, and a person yawns less often. Breathing through the mouth, we help the blood warm – and again there is an irresistible desire to yawn.
So scientists put forward another version: that yawning helps cool the blood and, accordingly, the brain. It sounds quite understandable: remember in what conditions your head “cooks” better – in heat or cool, and the hypothesis about cooling the brain will seem quite viable.
Yawn as a pressure regulator
Another coherent theory suggests that yawns even out intracranial pressure. Imagine an airplane landing. Would you like to yawn? Some do not yawn, but intuitively make movements similar to a yawn or a sip. The pressure difference inside and outside the eardrum makes us try to equalize it and seek salvation in a yawn.
Yawning as muscle training
Why are we yawning? Why do we yawn when we want to sleep? Yawn as a hang up signal? On the contrary. A yawn helps relax muscles and bring the brain back into tone. That’s why a yawn may come up before you in a responsible case: waiting nervously under the door of the examination room, before an important meeting, ten minutes before the interview, five minutes before going on stage. Therefore, if you want to sleep or are deadly bored, rejoice in yawning – it helps you to cheer up. And if you go out into a cool shady alley (or stick your head in the freezer), you will feel better even faster.
Yawning – social glue
What are mirror neurons? These are cells responsible for empathy when interacting with other people. It is the mirror neurons that are “guilty” of yawning right after your loved one. But a random fellow traveler in the subway is unlikely to cause you the same answer.
Anthropological researchers suggest that socially conditioned yawning arose in living groups of primates at the dawn of their development. As soon as one hunter sitting in an ambush yawned, the rest started yawning along the chain and received an automatic signal about an approaching threat and the need to be on alert.
Yawning as a marker of disease
Yawning not only helps with various conditions and indicates the degree of closeness between people. If you often yawn for a long time, beware: yawning can talk about a variety of ailments. The most harmless are sleep disturbances or body thermoregulation, high blood pressure, hypertension, or depression. Worse, when unstoppable yawning screams for thrombosis or a damaged brain. Alas, it happens.
So, if neither sipping, nor a cool shower, nor ten hours of sleep, nor relaxation helps you get rid of yawns, it’s time to go for medical help. And let no words of the doctor at the reception draw your attention so much that you stop yawning from boredom.