Yawn Worthy

February 27, 2013

Jessie Burgess


Yawning is horribly contagious. That deep yearning down in you lungs for oxygen, your body crying out for the sweet delicious oxygen that you need to survive and you’re more than likely falling asleep, so you yawn.

But is that really what’s happening? No one really knows. Except some overly bored or overly tired researchers are trying to figure it out. Because when you don’t have “real” research, you yawn.

Current research ) is being done on the thermoregulatory properties of yawning and how the sudden influx of cool air can actually cool your brain down and restore a higher level of alertness. Compare it with drinking a slurpee really fast, all that ice coming into contact with the roof of your mouth, which houses several blood vessels that connect to you brain, and you feel that pain of a brain freeze.

So as you pull in that large amount of air its temperature is cooler than that of your body, and it works in the same way in your nasal passages to cool that blood going to your brain, lowering your brains temperature to an optimal level.

At Princeton a study was done on 160 subjects, 80 in winter and 80 in summer, suggesting that people were yawning less frequently in the summer due to the ambient air around them being warmer than your internal temperature.

The biological function of yawning isn’t exactly known, nor is why it is so contagious, but rest assured that when you yawn, I yawn. You probably yawned just reading this.



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