Why Do People Yawn? Is It Contagious

For many years, people have always wondered, why do you yawn when tired? There are all sorts of theories about the subject. It’s something that everybody carries out, yet people are relatively clueless about why we do it. Even animals yawn and it is one of the most contagious things that a person can do.

Why Do We Yawn — The Theories

So why do we yawn? — There are many theories regarding this question. One of the most popular and common ideas is that yawning can help bring us more oxygen. However, this has been disputed by scientists. They are more often suggesting that it says something about your brain temperature, empathy potential and general state of mind.

Causes Of Yawning

One of the most backed theories is that we yawn in order to regulate our brain temperature. The 2014 study published in the journal “Physiology and Behaviour” found that yawning habits occurred much less frequently during the winter months. If the brain gets too far outside its normal temperature, inhaling cool air can help keep the brain temperature down. When your brain isn’t stimulated that much, it begins to slow down and this causes a drop in temperature. A lot of people find that they will yawn more when they have migraines. When experiencing a migraine, blood tends to clot up in your brain. A simple yawn can help to cool the brain down and prevent clotting.

Did you know that many people yawn because they want to become more awake? It sounds counterintuitive, however, the motion actually helps to stretch out the tissues and the lungs. As the body begins to flex, blood is forced towards the face and brain in order to increase the alert state. But can you yawn in your sleep? Yes, absolutely! Even the sleeping brain wants to be more awake.

The Contagious Yawn

But why do we yawn when someone else does? Why is it so contagious? It is because you bond and have empathy with another person. Even watching a video of someone else doing it can trigger you to do it as well. Experiment and try watching a few videos to see if you turn out the same. If you’ve caught you on, this is actually a good thing.

A recent study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences analyzed over a hundred college students and investigated how they reacted to different kinds of facial movement. The results indicated that when a person had less empathy, they would not yawn as much after seeing someone else do so, is a very interesting result. We yawn when someone else does because we want to be closer to them and to empathise with what they’re doing. We all feel empathy and yawning is a way of expressing it to others.

Wrap Up

That’s about it from us, so hopefully, now you can answer that age-old question of why humans yawn. In ancient times it was believed that yawning was carried out to expel demons – Who knew that now medical science has revealed that it has to do with empathy and that yawning is actually carried out to make you feel less tired? Hopefully, the next time you yawn, you will remind yourself of all these brilliant facts.

Got any theories about what does it mean when you yawn? Tell us in our comments section below.

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