Why Do We Yawn & Why Is Yawning Contagious!? – Stop Frequent Yawning By Following Easy Tips
Have you ever wondered why we do we yawn when we see other’s yawning!? This one question has always been deeply rooted in my subconscious mind but today, I have decided to make time and get to know the answer for the most interesting question that has a lot to do with the science.
If the same question has compelled you to search for the answer, Come, let’s have fun exploring the facts and the original science behind this skeptical question.
Do you know that even fetus yawns in the mother’s womb when it is in the stage of the first trimester?
Is Yawning A Problem?
How many times have you yawned since your day has begun!? Well, it is completely involuntary and we do not even notice how many times we yawn in a day!
But if you have been feeling too drowsy all the time, yawning and lazing around all the day, being called a lazy bug by your friends and peers, Haha! there is some serious problem with you I suppose!
Let us first dig deep into the question and understand why do we yawn and then understand whether your problem is a serious one.
Well, we wouldn’t yawn only if we are diagnosed with some serious neurological disorder. Otherwise, yawning is absolutely necessary for us to regulate a healthy metabolism.
So, let us directly jump into the answer for the question of why do we yawn.
What Causes Yawning? Here are 4 Interesting Causes
There is not one but many theories that explain what causes yawning. Let us have a glance at all the causes of yawning.
1. Why Do We Yawn? – Science Behind Yawning
A disruption in the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide can bring a lot of changes within our internal system.
The theory states that when we yawn, we open our mouth to draw in a large amount of oxygen and expel carbon dioxide while closing our mouths.
It is to some extent true that we breathe in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide while yawning but it does not mean that your body is deprived of oxygen.
A Study That Proves Yawning Does Not Mean Your Body Lacks Oxygen
There was an experiment conducted among a group of people that involved people who were provided with various levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
People who were exposed to excess amounts of oxygen did not see a decrease in the rate of yawning and people who were exposed to fewer amounts of carbon dioxide did not see an increase in the rate of yawning.
So, this proves that you may sometimes yawn to draw in oxygen but that does not mean that your body lacks proper oxygen levels which makes you yawn.
The next time you see yourself yawning a bit too frequent, do not get frustrated because yawning indicates that you are expelling the unwanted wastes from your cells in the form of carbon dioxide.
2. Another Theory States That We Yawn To Maintain Optimal Homeostasis
The term “optimal homeostasis” may sound too medical but you will realize how simple it is after knowing the meaning.
Optimal homeostasis is the mechanism that our body adapts to regulate the internal biological mechanisms. We may sometimes perform certain activities to adjust ourselves to the external environmental conditions.
Yawning is one such activity which regulates the temperature of our brain for a healthy survival.
3. Do You Yawn When You Are Bored? Here’s Why Boredom Makes You Yawn
Needless to say, boredom is the most prominent reason for yawning. That one boring lecture, the time that we spend waiting in long queues, being idle and lazy all the time makes us yawn.
Contrary to this, our brains are active and alert when we perform activities that we actually love but why does this happen?
Our brains become inactive and tired when we feel bored and this reduces the oxygen supply to our brain. So, we tend to breathe in more oxygen through the process of yawning.
A healthy adult may yawn 20 times in a day (on an average)
4. Is Exercising One Of The Causes Of Yawning?
It may sound weird but you may also yawn during workouts and there is science to back this! Working out may cause the temperature in your brain to raise high.
Your body may look for various ways to reduce the temperature and bring it back to normal and yawning is one such way that you may involuntarily opt for.
However, yawning during or post workout applies to only those workouts that you perform vigorously.
Our brain releases oxytocin, acetylcholine, dopamine, serotonin, peptides related to adrenocorticotropic hormone are all majorly responsible for yawning.
Why Is Yawning Contagious?
How many time have you yawned while reading this post? Well, I hope you did not yawn out of boredom but one interesting reason could be that you are actually reading something related to yawning which makes you yawn because as we already know, yawning is contagious(1), but the reason behind this?
Well, there are two different statements that are most commonly given so as to explain why is yawning contagious, both of which I’m going to put in front for a better understanding.
1. Contagious Yawning Is Related To Empathy
People who are empathetic are those who are able to understand the sufferings of others because they have the ability to walk in other’s shoes. Surprisingly, researches have proved that people who are more empathetic are more likely to catch contagious yawns when compared to others.
The statement was believed to be true because of the difference in response that was witnessed in people suffering from autism(2).
People with autism usually lack a proper social response not because they lack feelings, but because they lack proper skills through which they can express their feelings which is why they are said to be lacking empathy.
A lot of studies were conducted where people with autism were tested with contagious yawning resulting in their failure to respond to yawning and a lack of empathy was the reason that was given for this type of behaviour.
However, there is much research that is yet to be done to prove it exactly that a lack of empathy is what causes contagious yawning.
2. Contagious Yawning Has Something To Do With Age
Few sources claim that people who are more empathetic are more likely to catch the yawn from others but there are other studies conducted on people belonging to different age groups to check how much of an impact does age have on contagious yawning.
People belonging to different age groups were shown the footage of people yawning. The result was such, people who were much younger were more likely to catch the contagious yawning when compared to the people who were older.
Another reason that supports contagious yawning in relation with age is the fact that children who were as young as 4 years did not seem to catch contagious yawning.
But doesn’t it resonate with the fact that people who are as young as 4 years also lack empathy which is why they did not catch the contagious yawning?
There hasn’t been enough research done to exactly know why do we yawn when we look at others yawning, but empathy and age factors are in a way said to be related to contagious yawning.
How To Get Rid Of Yawning – Home Remedies For Excessive Yawning
We all might have been in that phase where we could not actually stop yawning. Sometimes, it becomes so annoying, we would want to get rid of it no matter what!
On an average, you should not be yawning more than 20 times in a day, but if you have seen yourself yawning more than 20 times, here are some easy tips to help you get rid of the most irritable yet involuntary habit.
1. Try Keeping Your Brain Active And Alive
Yawning is an involuntary response to boredom! We may not notice it but we let our thought wander and the problem is, they never come back.
You can try experimenting this for a day. Try to keep your mind alert and try to stay in the moment. If you find it difficult to bring your thoughts to the present moment, you can try performing certain activities that can instantly trigger your mood.
Try painting a picture or drawing a rough sketch of anything that is in front of you. Scribble down your thoughts or listen to your favourite track, paying attention to the beautiful melody.
If painting or writing is not your cup of tea, you can try doodling to keep yourself occupied. You can also try some basic stretching to get rid of drowsiness and lethargy.
2. Try Using A Cold Compress
You will be surprised to know that boredom is not the only reason for yawning. Our brains get heated which makes us yawn so that we regulate the temperatures and bring it back to normal.
The next time you feel an urge to get rid of excessive(3) yawning, try placing a cold compress over your head and see how quickly you can get rid of yawning.
3. How To Stop Yawning? Foods To Choose!
If you do not have an availability of cold compress nearby, one simple trick that you can use to get rid of yawning is to relish some delicious foods that are stored in refrigerators. This is one way of cooling down your brain as well as your internal system.
Try eating more cucumbers and watermelons as they provide you with instant cooling properties.
4. Exercise Regularly
Did you ever observe the difference between those days when you have worked out and on the days when you have skipped exercising?
The simple fact that working out makes your brain cells active is the main reason why a regular exercise works as one of the best home remedies for excessive yawning.
For a change, try waking up early and make exercise an important aspect of your life. You will soon realize that your productivity increases since your brain cells become much active.
5. Stay Hydrated
You may experience fatigue when your body is deprived of water and fatigue is what causes yawning in most of the people. You can start by drinking 2-3 glasses of water per day.
If regular water does not appetize you much, you can flavour it up by adding honey and lemon. In fact, there are numerous health benefits of drinking lemon and honey mixed in warm water other than just increasing your metabolism.
Drinking water is not the only way to keep yourself hydrated. You can choose those foods that can increase the water content in your body.
6. Get A Good Quality Sleep
Your regular activities can sometimes disturb your sleep cycle which makes your brain dull and inactive because of a lack of proper oxygen supply to your brain. Ensure that you maintain a regular sleep pattern that does not get disturbed no matter what.
If you have caught yourself yawning excessively and if you are one of those who does not have a proper sleep cycle, following all the remedies can go in vain if you do not get a proper sleep.