Why does yawning people around them?

Yawning cools the brain

Why are we yawning? Does it have anything to do with our health? One clue leads to this thesis: yawning cools the brain. The neuroscientist Raquel Marin gives an overview of the meaning and function of yawning.

Last update: June 27, 2020

Scientists estimate that people yawn about 28 times a day under normal conditions. You spend about four minutes each day doing this seemingly unnecessary and often uncontrollable activity. You will spend your whole life yawning. It starts in the fifth month of your time in the womb and extends through the last days of your life. It is impolite to yawn in certain situations. However, yawning is necessary for your health. This is partly due to the following interesting fact: Yawning cools the brain.

Read on to learn more.

Why are you yawning Yawning cools the brain

You probably associate yawning with fatigue or boredom, but that's only part of the story. Fetuses yawn, as do most vertebrates (fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals).

In many cultures, people find it rude to yawn in public. Nevertheless, everyone does it, even very well behaved people. Yawning can also be very contagious. All you have to do is watch someone in your immediate area yawn to feel compelled to do the same.

Yawning is necessary for your brain's health. It contributes to proper brain development and function throughout your life.

Fetal yawning helps develop the brain

As mentioned above, even unborn babies yawn. They start around week 20 and do so for the rest of their lives.

Babies in the womb don't yawn because they are obviously bored or tired. At this stage of their growth, yawning promotes the sequential and orderly development of the brain. Many studies suggest that yawning is a sign that the brain and peripheral nerves that regulate muscle movement are developing properly.

The fetal yawn is so important that its absence can be a sign of neural dysfunction.

After you are born, your brain has to yawn several times a day.

Yawning helps you pay attention

Most people believe that people yawn in order to add more oxygen to the brain. However, there is no substance to this theory. After all, you breathe continuously through your mouth and nose day and night and it has nothing to do with the oxygen supply to the brain.

The oxygen that supplies your brain cells is mainly carried by your network of blood vessels that converge in the brain. If the purpose of yawning was to provide oxygen to the brain, why stop yawning when you hold your breath? Or when you are in a low-oxygen environment?

Therefore, this declaration cannot stand up to closer scrutiny. There are other, more recent, explanations that suggest that while yawning, you can switch from a standard mode network to an alert network. According to Walusinski (2014), yawning increases the amount of fluid in the brain, which allows for the increased attention and focus you need for more complex tasks. In other words, yawning will help you switch tasks and focus fully.

Other studies suggest that yawning cools the brain by regulating temperature.

Yawning cools the brain

Try this experiment developed by researchers at the University of Albany. At the beginning you have to be surrounded by people and be ready to yawn.

Put a cold pack on your forehead. Be careful not to damage your skin from getting too cold. The reason you need to put it on your forehead is because your forehead has more sweat glands to keep you cool than any other part of your body.

If you have the cold pack on your forehead, you should yawn if people around you yawn five times less than normal. However, if you put a hot pack on your forehead, your urge to yawn won't let up.

This experiment shows that cooling the forehead would help cool the brain and eliminate the contagious yawn. You can also try breathing intensely through your nose to improve cooling. That could work too.

The increased ventilation that occurs when you yawn lowers the temperature of your brain. Lack of sleep and mental exhaustion after strenuous mental activity increase brain temperature. That's why you yawn more when you get up or go to bed, or after you've been working on something that is mentally stressful for you. While most people still consider yawning to be rude in certain contexts, it is a normal and necessary activity.

More than normal yawning can be a sign of brain pathology

We talked about how good yawning is in general. However, too much yawning can be a sign of illness. What is too much Do you yawn more than three times every fifteen minutes? That could be too much.

Patients with stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, migraines, brain tumors, intracranial hypertension, chronic insomnia, or epilepsy usually yawn far more than normal. In Parkinson's disease, continuous and excessive yawning is one of the symptoms of the disease.

If one day you have to yawn more than normal, don't worry. Maybe your brain is just tired and needs to cool down a bit. Remember, yawning is very normal.

Another possible cause of excessive yawning is the consumption of certain drugs, such as antidepressants, opioids, or sedatives. If you drink too much caffeine, you may yawn more often as well.

If you are yawning while reading this article, that's great! Because this has piqued your interest and increased your brain activity. Keep yawning!

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