Why We Yawn

Yawning seems like a natural occurrence that only takes place before bed and waking up. However, as we get older we start to pay attention to the contagious phenomenon, and notice that it is a little more complex than just a sleepy-time mechanism.

Work-it-out

Yawning is an involuntary action that causes the mouth to open wide and breathe in deeply, which actually puts more body parts to work than you may think. When you inhale, you are filling your lungs with air, your abdominal muscles then flex, and your diaphragm is pushed down.

While yawning is associated with drowsiness, your heart-rate actually rises as much as 30 percent during this “exercise” which can be considered a sign of heightened state-of-excitement. If you have ever paid attention during a workout, run or strenuous activity, you might have noticed that you begin to yawn occasionally. It could have been a side-effect of fatigue or the need for rest, but on the contrary, it could have also been a lack of oxygen.

A yawn to the body, is like a radiator to a vehicle. The body induces yawning to provide more oxygen to the brain, and to remove a buildup of carbon dioxide in the lungs by stretching the jaw and increasing blood flow in the neck, face and head. When air is breathed into the mouth, it removes hot blood from the brain and introduces cool air.

So ya caught a case of the yawns…

If you are in a conversation with an individual and he casually yawns, you probably start to wonder if he is bored with the conversation or… oh… here it comes….You yawn as well and fall victim to the contagious yawn, and pretty soon it is like a domino effect on every one that walks by or entertains your conversation.

Studies show that you don’t have to physically see someone yawn for you to yawn back. You can hear or even read about it, and chances are, you have probably yawned at least once since you have been reading this. The contagious yawn is said to be associated with the same part of the brain that deal with empathy, thus linking it to an individuals ability to understand and connect with others’ emotional state. Infectious yawning has been also been observed in chimpanzees and dogs. Speaking of dogs, don’t miss out on your chance to win a queen size mattress! Be sure to enter the Bed Hog Contest by submitting a snapshot of your pooch hogging your bed for a chance to win a free queen-size mattress from Mattresses For Less.