Everybody yawns, including animals. However, no one knows for sure why people and animals do this. Yawning is a human and animal behaviour that medical practitioners have been observing for years but it is still poorly understood.
What is yawning exactly? It is an involuntary reflex that involves opening the jaw, breathing in deeply and the exhaling the inhaled air. Immediately after the yawn comes a feeling of relaxation.
There are many theories trying to explain why people yawn. For years it was thought that yawning helps to bring in more air into your body because low oxygen levels were sensed in the lungs. This is the mostly debunked theory today. It is now known that lungs don’t necessarily sense oxygen levels.
So, why do we yawn?
As mentioned above there is a number of reasons why people yawn. However, answering this question is not nearly as simple as defining yawning itself. Scientists have made a little good research on this topic. Even though the research has not produced conclusive results, there is quite a number of theories that the scientists agree on.
Here is the list of some of the reasons we yawn:
1. When you are moving higher very quickly (just like when you are flying in an airplane) you will yawn both voluntarily and involuntarily. Your body does this to try to equalize pressures within your ear.
2. If you catch someone yawning or if you read about yawning, even thinking about yawning can cause you to do it. This is called social empathy. Psychologists have conducted research that proves that the more empathetic you are, the more likely you are to yawn when you see someone else doing the same.
3. If you are close to someone emotionally, you are more likely to yawn when they do.
4. Yawning is commonly associated with boredom and sleepiness. It is even considered rude to yawn when someone is talking in most cultures. However, scientists theorise that yawning is actually a reflex that your brain induces to make you more alert of your environment. So, the reason why you yawn when you are tired or bored is because your body is attempting to keep you awake and alert. People yawn when the body wants to wake itself up.
5. Another theory on the cause of yawning is brain temperature regulation. This means that if your brain’s temperature gets too far outside the norm, breathing in air can help cool it down.
How do you stop yawning?
Yawning is common and is usually totally not harmful. However, if you feel like you are yawning more than usual, try these following few steps.
1. Try deep breathing exercises through your nose. Your body may be needing more oxygen.
2. Avoid or limit caffeine and alcohol. Excessive caffeine and alcohol intake can deprive you of a quality sleep. They can make you feel tired and sleepy causing you to yawn more.
3. Cool yourself down. Drink cold water or try taking a walk.
If you are experiencing additional symptoms that interfere with your day-to-day activities, then your yawning can be a symptom of some disease. Especially if yawning cannot be explained by lack of sleep or some other cause mentioned in this blog. You will need to see your doctor.
In conclusion, yawning is very common though poorly understood. However, if you find yourself yawning more that usual for no obvious reasons, it is recommended that you visit your doctor and make sure everything is still normal.
Read here if you want to find out what causes beer bellies.
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