Why Do We Yawn?

Everybody yawns, so do most vertebrate animals. But we’ll like to learn why we yawn, right? So here’s a post about yawning.
Just typing about this yawning thing makes me want to *yawn* yawn.

Why we yawn exactly isn’t known though. But there are some explanations.

A common explanation states that yawning helps draw in large amounts of air to increase blood pressure, heart rate and blood oxygen levels. These physiological changes improve our motor function and alertness, helping to wake us up when we’re tired or watching Nollywood. But ignore that, experiments have shown that yawning doesn’t infact induce these changes.

And then there’s Hyperthermia hypothesis which says that yawning helps cool down the brain. This is the current belief. Don’t ignore it.

And get this, one cool stuff was discovered in 2007, researchers found that holding warm or cold packs on one’s forehead affected how often one would yawn while watching Nollywood or while watching other people or your pet yawning. In addition, cold packs decreased yawning, compared with warm packs. People are more likely to yawn when the air is cool. No wonder no one yawns while sweating. Aaah! Cool huh?

Ok, back to the matter at hand. Basically, we yawn because we’re bored. Like when we’re watching Nollywood. Bored and want to eat, bored and want to sleep. The signal that initiates a yawn comes from a particular brain region, the PVN (for paraventricular nucleus) of the hypothalamus. It stimulates other brain cells in both the brain stem and the Hippocampus to produce the muscle contractions we know as a yawn. The PVN also makes chemical messengers that may cause yawning. Its production of one called ACTH (for adrenocorticotropic hormone) increases dramatically during sleep and just before waking–which may explain why we yawn when we wake in the morning.

You must’ve yawned through all that medical jargon.

But why do we yawn when we watch others yawn?
Well, some scientists think such contagious yawning is most likely related to mimicry and empathy. Just as people will most likely laugh when they watch others laugh, smile when others smile and frown when others frown. And steal a piece of meat when their older brother steals a piece, and kick the dog when a sibling has just kicked the dog, and stick their finger their nose when…OK enough.

Research also showed that the closer someone is to you genetically or emotionally, the more likely you are to yawn along with them. This is maybe because you have stronger empathetic bonds with them.

Little wonder i yawn right after that Wall Gecko!

i yawn whenever i have to listen to my president give a speech. Not that guy up there, nope! Its the other guy whose photo of him yawning i don’t have. i do have one of him doing nothing though. Totally boring.

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