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Why Do We Yawn and Is It Contagious?

Almost all people are well aware of the word ‘Yawn’ or ‘Yawning’. Its reason is that we or other people around us frequently yawn. Yawning is a universal human behavior and it has fascinated scientists for centuries. That’s why we want to know about the main causes of yawn. We also try to know why it is so contagious. Here, we will explore the science behind yawning. Moreover, we will also provide answers to frequently asked questions relevant to this fascinating concept.

What is Yawning?

Yawning is a natural and involuntary behavior. Human beings as well as some animals exhibit yawning. It is a reflex action of inhaling deeply and exhaling audibly. Usually, the process of yawning lasts for almost six seconds. Moreover, it is also accompanied by a stretch or a deep breath. The yawning can occur at any time of the day. Anyhow, it is most common in the morning or late afternoon.Why do we yawn

What Causes Us to Yawn?

Scientists have not understood the exact cause of yawning. Anyhow, they have presented several theories about this contagious process. Here, we will discuss the most important ones. First, it is helpful for us to increase our oxygen intake. According to the same theory, it also decreases the carbon dioxide levels in our bodies. The second theory shows the importance of yawning for our brain. According to this theory, it can regulate the brain temperature and prevent overheating. The third theory suggests that it is a way to stretch our facial muscles. As a result, it can increase the blood flow to our brain.
Why do animals yawn

Why is Yawning Contagious?

It is a common observation that you will start yawning when you see someone else doing it. Due to this reason, a question may come to your mind ‘Why is yawning contagious?’. You will be surprised to know that the answer to this question is still not entirely clear. Anyhow, some researchers linked it to empathy. When we see a person yawn, our brain automatically mimics his behavior. As a result, it causes us to yawn as well. Mostly, we observe this kind of behavior in human beings. Anyhow, some animals like dogs and chimpanzees also exhibit the contagious yawning process.

FAQs About Yawning

Q1: Is Yawning a Sign of Tiredness?

Answer: We often associate the yawning process with tiredness. Anyhow, some other factors like boredom or stress can also become the cause of yawning.

Q2: Can You Control When You Yawn?

Answer: In most cases, it is an involuntary behavior. Anyhow, some people can also suppress it consciously.

Q3: Why Do We Yawn More in the Morning?

Answer: We usually observe the yawning process in the morning. Its reason is that our body is adjusting to waking up in the morning. That’s why it needs more oxygen which becomes the cause of yawning in the morning.

Q4: Is Yawning a Sign of a Medical Condition?

Answer: In most cases, yawning is harmless. Anyhow, excessive yawning can become the cause of some medical conditions. In these medical conditions, there comes sleep disorders or neurological problems.


To sum up, we can say that it is a natural and involuntary behavior. Human beings and some animals exhibit it. The exact cause of yawning is still unknown. Scientists have several theories relevant to the yawning process. According to scientists, yawning helps us in increasing oxygen intake, regulate brain temperature, and stretch facial muscles. The link between contagious yawning is between empathy and social behavior. When you yawn next time, you should appreciate the complex science behind this common behavior.

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