Why Is Yawn Considered Contagious ?

By Juliet D'cruz

Why Do We Yawn?

We yawn for a variety of reasons, from increasing blood pressure to communicating drowsiness. We may even yawn in response to others’ yawns. We do it because we’re tired, but it could also be because we’re trying to communicate our drowsiness or to clear toxins from our blood. Regardless of its purpose, yawning is one of the most interesting human behaviors

What Is Yawning?

Yawning can be defined as involuntary deep inhalation of air in which you stretch your jaw muscle and breathe out. It can be done for various causes which might be caused when you are tired or unstimulated but you feel relaxed after yawning. It is understood that it is a reflex but its main purpose is still a puzzle. Therefore in this article, we would analyze various theories as to why we yawn and if it’s really contagious.

The Reasons Behind Yawning

  • Yawning is a thermoregulatory mechanism

The idea that yawning regulates temperature is useful not only in basic physiological research but in better diagnosing diseases associated with abnormal thermoregulation. This new view provides an explanation for the role of yawning in the regulation of body temperature. Read on for more information.

The temperature of the brain is regulated by a variety of variables, including the blood flow through the brain and the metabolic heat produced by the body. The brain uses several cooling mechanisms to regulate its temperature, including increased blood flow, vaso-dilation, and conduction processes through the upper airways. Recent studies have shown that yawning plays a key role in central thermoregulation. It counteracts intermittent increases in brain temperature, promotes thermal homeostasis, and maintains optimal brain temperature.

Humans are not the only species to exhibit yawning. Nonhuman primates, rats, and birds have been observed to yawn spontaneously. Researchers have also shown that the frequency of contagious yawning is correlated with seasonal climate changes and that the frequency of contagious yawns among pedestrians in the United States varies widely depending on weather conditions.

Besides being a thermoregulatory mechanism yawning signals the brains that we should now be sleeping. There are various couple sleeping positions that you and your partner can adopt can adopt to get a night of better sleep.

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  • It increases blood pressure

The physiological evidence that yawning increases blood pressure is accumulating. Physiological evidence shows that yawning increases heart rate, respiration, and skin conductance. This study also shows that yawning increases the temperature of facial-eye tissue. In the study, the authors estimated the time at which each subject yawed. They found that yawning increases the pressure on the arterial walls of the face.

In addition to increasing blood pressure, yawning has other physiological effects. It raises heart rate and blood pressure. It is believed to be one of the body’s ways to prepare for exertion. In fact, even thinking about yawning triggers it. So, how can we prevent this reflex? Try taking a slow, deep breath or increasing your pace. Then, you will not experience the yawning reflex anymore.

It communicates drowsiness

The yawning habit has evolved from a primitive instinct and may have helped us survive in our ancestors’ times. It is used by humans to communicate drowsiness and is a common sign of fatigue in gregarious species. Scientists believe that the yawning behavior may have synchronized moods among gregarious animals and helped them maintain social harmony. It may have also been used as a way to signal tiredness in groups.

In some cases, yawning is a sign of drowsiness. When we yawn, the brain cools and we can concentrate again. While excessive yawning may be indicative of a sleep disorder, it is normal behavior that can be contagious. A yawn is also a powerful form of communication, displaying empathy. However, excessive yawning may be a sign of a more serious health problem.

Researchers have found that yawn can be associated with a number of factors, including stress and boredom. It may be a signal of a shift from a relaxed state to an anxious or vigilant one. The yawn is a primitive behavior that has been around since humankind’s evolution. It has been associated with many different emotions, including hunger, stress, and boredom.

Though yawning might just signal your brain that you might be feeling sleepy but sometimes after recycling to bed after being drowsy for some time the sleep suddenly might have just vanished though you feel the drowsiness within that is when you should follow fast tips to fall asleep that help you relax your body and calm your mind.

The Idea of Yawning Being contagious

Another study also found that yawning is contagious. It was discovered that those who were more empathic were more likely to catch yawns. In contrast, people with certain social interaction disorders were less likely to catch yawning than those with a high level of empathy. It is unclear what this study explains, but researchers do know that it is an important step toward understanding how the yawn is a common signal of drowsiness.

The possible cons Of Yawning

  • Excessive yawning is one of the most common symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. The condition causes a weakened thermoregulation system. The brain needs oxygen to function properly, and yawning helps it regulate its temperature. Likewise, brain tumors can cause excessive yawning. These tumors are often linked to lesions in the brain stem or pituitary gland. Those with a history of yawning should seek medical attention to rule out any underlying conditions.
  • Another common reason people yawn is to relieve pressure in their ears. However, scientists don’t believe this is the primary reason for yawning. Another old theory posited that yawning happens because they aren’t receiving enough oxygen. It was thought that when people yawn, they bring in fresh oxygen to their ears. However, recent studies have shown that yawning does not increase carbon dioxide levels.


Everything that we know about yawning is mostly in theory as we are still researching the basic need for yawning, not only in humans but in other land mammals as well. We come across various new facts that shed some more light on the idea of yawning but we need more such research to finally understand Yawning as a whole. Till that time continue yawning as it is harmless and also make your friend do the same while he watches you, yawn. 

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