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Why do We Yawn?

All types of animals, birds & insecs are very interesting. Many are under attack, but many people like to learn everything about nature.

what-is-yawning

Is Yawning Contagious?

Did you ever wonder why you yawn? If you are with someone else who yawns, the chances are they will yawn also. Is yawning infectious? Really, the answer is yes; it often is very infectious. When we see someone yawn or even hear them yawn over the phone, we often yawn also.

Do you ever yawn when on an airplane to relieve ear discomfort? This is a benefit of yawning. Contagious yawning may be a way to keep us alert.

Essentially we are all the same when it comes to instinctive behaviors, and yawning is one of those behaviors. Scientists really do not know very much about yawning, except that it is an involuntary action. Robert Provine, a developmental neuroscientist at the University of Maryland has proven that 11 week old fetuses yawn, so it is a normal human reflex and age is not a cause of yawning.

Why Do We Yawn?

Respiratory System

what-is-yawning

Physical Effects of Yawning

From a physical standpoint, yawning causes us to open our mouths wide and take in a deep breath. Other parts of the body are also involved in the yawn. The jaw drops open to allow more air to enter into the lungs, the abdominal muscles flex pushing the diaphragm down.

The diaphragm is a large dome-shaped skeletal muscle extending across the bottom of the rib cage, which actually separates the thoracic cavity with the abdominal cavity and is moving with each breath.Your heart rate may rise by 30 percent during yawning. It is also a way to stretch the muscles. Did you know that yawning can also be a sign of sexual arousal?

Boredom, drowsiness and fatigue are known to bring on a yawn. We often cover our mouths when yawning in public to not offend another individual. Yawning is natural, and the facts are scientists do not know for sure why we yawn.

Saberttooth Tiger and Caveman iclipart.com

Saberttooth Tiger and Caveman iclipart.com

Excessive Yawning

An individual that suddenly has excessive yawning, even when tired, can indicate a serious problem. It may be caused by what is known as a vasovagal reaction. This reaction happens when the vagus nerve (this nerve runs from the brain to the heart and stomach) interacts with some of the blood vessels.

This reaction can indicate an impending heart attack, a sleeping disorder to bleeding around the large aorta artery. It is appropriate to consult a physician if you have been yawning much more frequently for no apparent reason.

Theories About Yawning

An individual that suddenly has excessive yawning, even when tired, can indicate a serious problem. It may be caused by what is known as a vasovagal reaction. This reaction happens when the vagus nerve (this nerve runs from the brain to the heart and stomach) interacts with some of the blood vessels.

This reaction can indicate an impending heart attack, a sleeping disorder to bleeding around the large aorta artery. It is appropriate to consult a physician if you have been yawning much more frequently for no apparent reason.

what-is-yawning

All God’s Creatures Yawn

All vertebrates, including fish, lizards and snakes yawn, however, only human beings, chimps and dogs experience contagious yawns.

Another study explored why yawning might be contagious, and they linked it to empathy or a form of social bonding. Kids do not experience contagious yawns until approximately four years of age. Children with autism seldom yawn, particularly in the more severe cases. Scientists think the study of yawning might help their understanding of developmental disorders

Sleep Music to Relax and Rewind - "The Path" or to Yawn

In Summary

Now that I have yawned for the past hour while writing this hub, I hope that each of you stayed awake and enjoyed this information about yawning. We know it is natural to yawn, and perhaps it is good to not get too overheated.

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Yawning Survey

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Comments

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 07, 2020:

Hi Charlene,

Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

Charlene Gallant from Cape Town, South Africa on September 07, 2020:

I think my brain has been overheating since this morning fighting the Monday blues:) great read!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 05, 2020:

Hi Rajan,

I am not sure why comment blocks are missing. This new way Hubpages is using to display our articles looks confusing to me, so I hope they are aware of the problem and fix it soon.

Marshall Mendoff is amazing and I think his work could help save our world. Thanks for commenting.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 04, 2020:

Just read your article "Marshall Mendoff Works to Improve the Environment" on Owlcation. Great job this man is doing! Couldn't comment as the comment box is missing. I have seen missing comment box even on Delishably. Have you any idea why this is so?

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on April 04, 2020:

Hi Rajan,

I yawn fairly often too. Thanks for your comments. Have a nice weekend.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 03, 2020:

I did yawn a few times while reading the article. lol. Very informative. Thanks for sharing

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 27, 2014:

I am glad you enjoyed this rather unusual topic. Thanks for your comments,

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on May 27, 2014:

Interesting and so helpful. I am glad to have read this hub and know more about yawning. You enlightened me on a useful topic. Voted up!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 23, 2013:

Rebecca, I do too! Thanks for your comments.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on August 22, 2013:

OMG what an interesting article. I yawn at the slightest suggestion of a yawn!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 22, 2013:

Audry, I didn't know that. Thanks so much for your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 22, 2013:

Delores, I agree that yawning is contagious. I could yawn just talking about it. Thanks so much for your comments.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on August 22, 2013:

I teach my vocal students to yawn frequently to relax throat muscles as well as to open the back of the throat while singing. When a singer sounds nasal it's because the back of the throat is closed off, bringing all the vibrations to the nose and sinus areas. Yawning teaches us how to "open" the back of the throat - a crucial point for singers.

Great hub which I will pin and share. Voted across and thanks so much! ~ Audrey

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on August 22, 2013:

It's funny that there are so many theories on why we yawn and I thought it very interesting that children with Autism do not yawn. This was a great read, but, oddly (or maybe not) I did yawn at the end! That's how contagious it is!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on January 28, 2013:

Lady E, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate your comments.

Elena from London, UK on January 27, 2013:

Very interesting and enlightening to read. I knew yawning was contagious but didn't know why. I'm glad I read this.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on January 07, 2013:

bredandagnes, This is good to know. Thanks for your comments.

bredandagnes from Ireland on January 07, 2013:

There are some unexpected benefits to yawning-Voice therapists teach it to help relax the muscles in the neck and larynx and help with voice problems.Great hub and fun too.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on January 07, 2013:

pstraubie, I found yawning to be an interesting topic to write about and yes, yawn. LOL Anyway, I appreciate your comments. Thank you for sending angels and back to you also.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on January 07, 2013:

Marcy, He does have that affect. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on January 07, 2013:

Susan, I really learned a lot when I was doing the research for this hub and I did a lot of yawning also. Thanks so much for your comments and the share.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on January 07, 2013:

Seeing the pup yawning at the opening of this article...made me feel as if I must yawn.

I am now very tired after reading this..:) feeling I must y a w n.

Seriously, thanks for the info....I learned things about yawning I did not know. That is why I read these articles...to learn something new. Love the photos too..

Sending angels to you this seventh day of the new year :) ps

Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on January 05, 2013:

You made me yawn just by looking at Fido's picture! Interesting stuff here - thanks for enlightening us!

Susan Holland from Southwest Missouri on January 05, 2013:

Oh, Pamela, I don't know how you got through this one... LOL It is a great hub! Seems to prove a point in itself - yawning is contagious. As soon as I saw the dog, I was a goner. I yawned with every example and explanation you gave. Lots of oxygen intake going on here. :-)

I did not know that long ago people may have yawned to show teeth for aggression. Also, I realized how right you are about a dog yawning before attacking, even in play my two yawn before wrestling. I never noticed before.

Great job and very interesting! Votes and shared! :-)

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 13, 2012:

Chris, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate the comments.

carolina muscle from Charlotte, North Carolina on December 13, 2012:

This was fascinating.. and I didn't know that about sexual arousal... I just assumed she was trying to tell me something else entirely. :-D

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 12, 2012:

Kelly, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for your comments.

kellymom1970 on October 12, 2012:

Pamela99, what great hub!! I always learn so much for your hard work. Great job! :)

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 10, 2012:

I thought the animals were so cute. I'm glad you enjoyed the article and I appreciate your comments.

Movie Master from United Kingdom on October 10, 2012:

Hi Pamela, I love the picture of the owl yawning!

A fascinating article, really enjoyed reading - didn't yawn once!

Thank you and voted up

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 02, 2012:

Ruchira, I'm glad you found the hub interesting. I appreciate your comments.

Ruchira from United States on October 01, 2012:

Very interesting Pam.

I must have yawned 5 times while reading this hub...it is so contagious :)

I was aware that Livings yawn when they need more oxygen...other pointers were interesting.

Thanks pam. Voted up as useful and interesting

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 01, 2012:

Peggy, That is a lot of yard work. I'd be yawning too. Thanks for your comments.

K9strokes, It does seem to be very contagious. I sure appreciate the comments and the share. Hugs to you too.

Rufus, I think that is probably true about dogs. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate your comments.

Rufus rambles from Australia on October 01, 2012:

Great hub! I yawned about 5 times while reading it! And I certainly wasn't bored. I have heard that yawning stimulates the vegas nerve which gives us more energy or alertness. Also, in dogs, yawning can show anxiety and is an attempt by the animal to calm itself. Very interesting hub!

India Arnold from Northern, California on October 01, 2012:

Pam, I must have yawned 5 times during your hub! Certainly NOT out of boredom, but rather reflex...it was very strange. The simple suggestion of a yawn has such an effect! Great information here. Fascinating that only chimps, dogs, and humans experience contagious yawning. Up and sharing this one! Hope this finds you doing well, ma'am.

HubHugs~

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 01, 2012:

Reading this hub made me yawn. Not the article, which was very interesting...it was probably the 4 1/2 hours of yard work that I did today. I'm tired! Up votes and sharing.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 29, 2012:

Mzl, Good question and I think they have a lot to learn. Thanks so much for your comments.

Life Under Construction from Neverland on September 28, 2012:

Pam, excellent work. we know we yawn but why do we??? great topic.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 28, 2012:

Maria, I think most of us are impressionable when it comes to yawning. Thank you for your comments. Hugs.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on September 27, 2012:

Pam,

I have yawned from start to finish, yet I was fascinated with your organization and presentation of this content. I think I am very impressionable...?

Wonderful work! Voted UP and all across! Hugs, Maria

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 27, 2012:

Dianna, I'm glad you found the hub interesting and I appreciate your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 27, 2012:

tillsontitan, I was curious about those two theories also. Thanks for your comments and I appreciate your stopping by to read by hub.

Dianna Mendez on September 27, 2012:

What a good post on a common habit. I find myself yawning when others yawn. It's just one of those things that you do -- now I can see why. Thanks the share on this very well done hub of information.

Mary Craig from New York on September 27, 2012:

Funny I just read another hub on yawning...are we trying to tell ourselves something? I think most people are curious about yawning because we don't know what really causes it.

I love the thought of showing your teeth or making yourself bigger by yawning...I'll have to see if anyone is intimidated the next time I yawn ;) Thank you for all this information.

Voter this up, useful and very interesting.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 27, 2012:

Coge, Mythbuster has some interesting topics but I must have missed that one. I think the warm brain theory is the most logical but I think they still have some research to do also. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks so much for your comments.

UltimateMovieRankings from Virginia on September 27, 2012:

A very interesting hub on yawning....I learned a ton of things while reading this hub. It does make you wonder why some animals and some athletes yawn right before an activity...it certainly is not that they are bored (as you wrote)....but it does make you think.....I think the warm brain theory seems like a good one.

I remember watching a Mythbuster episode where they tried to get people to yawn.....by having people yawning on purpose....if memory serves me correctly...they could not prove or disapprove the myth.

Voted up and awesome.....job well done.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 27, 2012:

drbj, So glad to hear you kept alert while reading. :-) Thanks for the comments.

Barbara Radisavljevic from Templeton, CA on September 26, 2012:

That's interesting. I'll have to try yawning when I need to be more alert. I'm still trying to figure out why a fetus yawns. I thought a fetus gets oxygen from its mother and is encased in water.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on September 26, 2012:

This was so fascinating, Pamela, that I did not yawn from boredom or ennui or the need for more oxygen even one single solitary time. Promise!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 26, 2012:

Kashmir, Glad to know you didn't yawn. :-) I appreciate your comments and glad you found the hub interesting.

Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on September 26, 2012:

Hi Pamela great hub and very interesting information on yawning, some i did not know before. I did not yawn once reading this hub !

Vote up and more !!!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 26, 2012:

rajan Jolly, I am glad you found this article interesting. Thank you for your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 26, 2012:

MHatter, I'm glad you found the hub interesting and thanks for your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 26, 2012:

Faith, I thought the animals were adorable also. I appreciate your comments.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 26, 2012:

Pamela, I find myself yawning when I'm sleepy. Interesting topic to choose to write about. And you did an excellent job of it.

Voting up and interesting. Sharing this.

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on September 25, 2012:

So my wife was right? Just joking, Thank you for this interesting report.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on September 25, 2012:

Excellent hub, Pamela. You have written a very insightful piece on yawning. I yawn #1 and when others yawn, I do so too. I just love thos images of the animals yawning, so cute. God bless. In His Love, Faith Reaper

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 25, 2012:

writer, I am so glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 25, 2012:

Linda, The power of suggestion really is amazing. It was fun to do the research of this hub and I am glad you enjoyed it. Thank you so much for your comments.

Joyce Haragsim from Southern Nevada on September 25, 2012:

Great helpful hub. I enjoyed reading and seeing your funny photos.

Voted up helpful and interesting, Joyce.

Linda Crist from Central Virginia on September 25, 2012:

lol...the power of suggestion is amazing. I yawned through the whole hub even though I found it thoroughly fascinating. This was very creative and informative. Good job! Voted up.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 25, 2012:

eHealer, I am glad you found the hub informative. I love that dog picture also. Thanks for your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 25, 2012:

Terrye, I think those are good signs to be know for all of us. I appreciate your comments and have a nice evening..

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 25, 2012:

b. Malin, It is good to know its not always boredom. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate your comments.

Deborah from Las Vegas on September 25, 2012:

Pamela, great hub as usual, love the dog yawning. This is very informational for many people who don't understand (including healthcare pros) the reasons for yawning. Your theories described are amazing, and I absolutely learned something from your writing. Thanks and voted up!

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on September 25, 2012:

I think I fall into the category of only yawning when I dead tired. Great information, especially on the excessive yawning and signs that it might be something more serious. Great hub, Pamela! Voted up and sharing.

b. Malin on September 25, 2012:

Wonderful Hub Pamela. It's not always over Boredom, as you have pointed out. Very Interesting as well as Entertaining Hub, thanks for sharing and the teachable moment.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 25, 2012:

Trinity, I'm glad to know its not my hub, but I am also tired and yawning. It's been a busy day. Thanks so much for your comments.

Trinity M on September 25, 2012:

Interesting hub Pamela :) Funny how we usually know so little about something we do all the time; right now I am definitely tired and yawning (I promise it’s not your hub!). Voted up and interesting.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on September 25, 2012:

Lord, I'm glad you enjoyed the article. I thought it was a fun topic. Thanks so much for your comments.

Billy, I didn't know most of it either until I did the research this morning. I appreciate your comments.

Alecia, I'm glad the hub was informative for you and thank you so much for your comments.

Alecia Murphy from Wilmington, North Carolina on September 25, 2012:

I don't yawn that much but I do notice when others do. When I'm tired I usually I try to drink some water and move around. But I agree yawning is contagious.

I didn't know that lack of yawning in children is a sign of autism but seeing it as a social behavior puts it in perspective.

I learned a lot in this hub and enjoyed reading it.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 25, 2012:

Very interesting information, Pamela! I somehow did not know most of this, but I found it fascinating. Good job and shared!

Joseph De Cross from New York on September 25, 2012:

Interesting! And is true, I yanw with someone on the other line or through Skype. The theory of the evolution seems to be more aceptable. We all yawn in public with a domino effect, like collective hyenas, but we do it individually like you said. Well researched and was a fun read Pam. Have a nice one!

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