Why Do We Yawn?

Woman yawning in bed
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Everybody is familiar with yawning – you probably do it a few times a day without even realising. But have you ever thought to yourself, why do humans yawn so much?

You might have heard that you yawn more when you are tired or bored, but studies show that the actual reason behind this reflex concerns the brain’s temperature.

When the brain gets too warm, we yawn to deliver a rush of cool air to our head as it will chill the blood in that area down. Along with this, it increases the heart rate and blood flow which speeds up our brain process, allowing us to think more clearly. So, this would explain why we seem to yawn when we are tired or bored.

In this post, we explain the most common reasons for yawning, so that you can learn to understand this natural reflex better:

Tiredness

Woman working late yawning
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One of the most common yawning causes is, unsurprisingly, tiredness. When we get tired, our brain begins to slow down, which causes a significant increase in temperature.

Sleep helps our body to regulate its temperature. When we do not get enough, it is more difficult for the body to control its temperature. Therefore, we yawn more in an attempt to compensate for the lack of sleep and keep the brain relatively cool.

The brain cannot function to its best potential when it is above optimal temperature, which is why we find it harder to think clearly when we are tired. Therefore, as a reflex, we yawn to cool the brain down and keep it functioning at a normal rate.

It is important to get around eight hours’ sleep every night, so try to adjust your routine to accommodate this. If you think your old mattress is to blame for a lack of sleep, then a bespoke mattress, made to your specification, may be a good investment.

Boredom

Yawning can also occur when you are extremely bored. If you are taking part in a particularly repetitive activity which you find tiresome, or no activity at all, the brain is not being stimulated enough to keep it active.

This can cause a rise in temperature, which again, will result in the body yawning to attempt to cool it down.

Migraines

Migraines can cause small blood clots to form in the brain and can be incredibly painful.

Under this condition, the brain can heat up considerable amounts, meaning that you will naturally yawn to keep it cool. This could also be the reason that excessive yawning is one of the symptoms of an oncoming migraine attack.

Waking the body up

Another reason yawning may wake the body up, is that the action is often accompanied by stretching, which greatly improves blood circulation to the face and muscles. It can also stretch the lungs. This results in a more energised and alert feeling.

Why is yawning contagious?

studying and yawning
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You have probably heard the theory that yawning is contagious, and if you have ever been in a room full of people doing it, you may find it hard to not join in!

One of the reasons why people in one room yawn at the same time is because they are all exposed to the same temperature. If the environment is particularly warm, anyone in it, may yawn to cool their brain down.

How do you stop excessive yawning?

Although yawning is a natural reflex to keep the brain cool, and therefore rather important to keep the body functioning properly, uncontrollable yawning can be quite irritating.

If you can’t stop yawning, here are a few tips which might help you out:

1. Breathe deeply through your nose – This technique will deliver cold air to your brain and help to regulate its temperature, without you having to yawn or stretch.

2. Change environment – If you’re too warm, you will find yourself yawning more. Putting yourself in a cold environment will help drop your body’s temperature and reduce your need to yawn.

3. Get a good rest – Getting the recommended amount of sleep has an incredible amount of benefits; one of them can be cutting down the amount you yawn. Having a decent amount of sleep will keep your body temperature regulated and of course, mean you are less tired, so yawning is not necessary.

4. Comfortable sleep environment – This can be achieved by ensuring you have the appropriate mattress and bed base for you.

If you have any mattress-related questions or would like to find out more about how we can help you get the sleep you deserve, get in touch with our friendly team.