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Just the thought of yawning can make you yawn. This is something every human being does. And not only we humans yawn, but also the animals. You shouldn't try to suppress it because when you yawn, it means your body needs it. It's one of the most contagious, uncontrollable acts the human body does. But why do you actually yawn?

Why do you yawn? Is there a scientific explanation?

Not only humans yawn

Why do you yawn?

There are many theories as to why people yawn. A popular theory is that yawning helps your body get a little more oxygen. But that's not the only scientific explanation why people yawn.

A yawn is an involuntary reflex that causes the mouth to open wide and the lungs to take in a lot of air. The air is then exhaled slowly. During this time, the eardrums stretch and the eyes can also close tightly, causing them to water.

Yawning is considered a sign of boredom or sleepiness

It doesn't have to be a thought or action to induce a yawn. The process is similar for everyone. Yawning usually occurs either before or after sleep, which is why it is usually considered a sign of tiredness. Yawning is also common in people doing boring or tiring things.

Yawning also has a social aspect. Yawning appears to be contagious in humans and some animals, and this contagiousness is well documented but poorly understood.

Yawning is a natural reflex

Basic facts about yawning:

  • Typically, yawning is a reaction to fatigue or lack of stimulation.
  • Babies can yawn, even in the womb.
  • Yawning is contagious, as part of the natural human empathic response.

Your body is preparing for sleep

Why do you yawn? - possible reasons

Yawning is commonly considered a sign of sleepiness or boredom, although this is not always the case. There is still no definitive scientific explanation for why people yawn. Many proposed theories have surfaced and been examined, and they provide some possible reasons.

  • Before bedtime: Yawning can be taken as a sign that the body is preparing for sleep.
  • When bored: Yawning while performing a boring task can be a sign that the brain is shifting from a high to a lower state of alertness.
  • After exercise or exercise: Yawning after intense exercise can be a sign of the brain transitioning from high energy to low energy.

Feelings of tiredness, boredom and stress make people more likely to yawn

A respiratory function

Yawning can be a function of breathing. Yawning is more likely to occur when the blood needs oxygen. A yawn causes a large intake of air and a faster heartbeat. So a yawn can simply serve to remove toxins from the blood and allow for fresh oxygenation.

To cool the brain

Yawning can cool down the brain. A yawn causes the jaw to expand and increases blood flow to the face and neck. When the brain's temperature rises too much above the norm, breathing air can help cool it.

As a means of communication

Some researchers believe that the reason humans yawn has more to do with evolution. Before humans communicated vocally, they may have used yawning to convey a message.

Yawning is definitely contagious

Do the animals yawn too?

Humans and chimpanzees aren't the only animals that yawn. All vertebrates yawn, from fish and birds to wolves and horses. However, there are only two animal species besides humans that yawn contagiously. These are the chimpanzees and the family of wolves and dogs.

However, the full cause of contagious yawning is unknown.

Yawning is also contagious in dogs

Is it possible to yawn too much?

Yawning is usually harmless, but it's possible to overdo it yawns. Excessive yawning can be caused by a number of different disorders that require medical attention.

How to stop yawning?

Try to breathe deeply

If you find yourself yawning excessively, try breathing deeply through your nose. Your body may need more oxygen.


Breaking up a routine can also help stimulate your brain. Feelings of tiredness, boredom and stress are more likely to make people yawn.

Cool off

You can also try taking a walk outside or entering a low temperature room.

Bored at work?

There are many theories that answer the question "Why do you yawn?". Recent studies and research find that this is how the body regulates brain temperature. It can also mean that you yawn when you feel tired or bored.

Can cats get bored too?

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