Doesn’t yawning feel so good?
Yes! That’s because it’s your body’s primary way of releasing & relaxing the jaw muscles, giving it just the stretch it needs!
Why do we yawn?
Some studies suggest that when we are bored or tired, our breathing is slower & not that deep, so we take in less oxygen. Yawning increases the oxygen flow to the brain & ‘cools’ it down (thermoregulatory hypothesis).
Yawning unleashes…yawning! But why?
Yawning is so contagious that one’s yawn is triggered just by hearing the sound of another’s yawn without even seeing the person! This applies to the animal kingdom as well.
The most common hypothesis that show yawns are contagious are:
• Echo Phenomenon: The automatic imitation of words or actions without explicit awareness.
• Mirror Neurons: Research shows that when we see someone else yawn, the area of the brain that houses our mirror neurons gets activated. They act like imitators that allow us to learn how to copy someone else actions by observing them.
• Empathy: This theory hypothesises that we yawn in response to someone else’s yawn in order to display empathy. Researchers say the “contagious” yawn is strongest among family members.
Psst… If you’re in a meeting or in class & you feel a yawn is creeping up, you can try suppressing it by taking a deep breath or pressing your tongue to the roof of your mouth.