Skip to main content

Sponsored Content

Understanding the Yawn

Apr 06, 2016 03:38AM ● Published by Family Features

(Family Features) Yawning is a natural part of everyday life, yet this simple phenomenon has some rather curious and mysterious features.

To help you learn more about yawning, Dr. Sujay Kansagra, a sleep health consultant for Mattress Firm and the director of Duke University’s Pediatric Neurology Sleep Medicine Program, offers answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

Why do I yawn?
This simple question does not yet have a simple answer. However, there are a handful of popular theories. For example, yawning may increase the body’s oxygen levels and help get rid of carbon dioxide. Alternatively, it may serve an evolutionary role in which yawning was used to show teeth and intimidate others. More recent theories suggest that yawning may help cool the brain in situations when it gets too hot. No theory has been proven correct.

Do I yawn only when I’m sleepy?                                         
You may think yawning only happens when bored or tired, yet it is not uncommon to see Olympic athletes yawning just prior to their events. A study that looked at soldiers about to parachute out of an airplane for the first time showed an increase in yawning just before jumping, so it’s not just boredom or sleepiness that brings on yawns. Yawning may trigger the brain to make a change in its state, either from bored to alert, sleepy to awake, etc.

Why do I yawn when I see someone else yawning?
You won’t be surprised to hear that this too is a mystery. However, there are some surprising things that are known. Even though children begin yawning as early as their first trimester as fetuses, they don’t experience the contagious yawn until closer to 5 years old, around the same time they develop better social understanding and empathy. Interestingly, children with autism yawn just as often as other children, but are much less likely to have a contagious yawn.

Why am I yawning right now?
Either this article is making you sleepy or you’ve hit on another common trigger for yawns. It’s not only seeing a yawn that can trigger one. Hearing, reading about or thinking about a yawn may also bring one out.

I frequently see dogs yawning. Do all animals yawn?
All vertebrate animals yawn. However, only humans, chimpanzees and possibly monkeys will yawn when others yawn. Humans are more likely to mimic the yawn of others when they know them well, a habit that has also been shown by chimps.  

For more information about yawning, visit StopYawnTalking.com.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Sponsored by Mattress Firm

Family Features Family Features Lifestyle
  • Shadows at The Shadows

    10/23/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Photographer and filmmaker James Edmunds' will be displaying his most recent photographs in a new...


  • Citizenship Class

    10/23/2017
    01:30PM — 05:30PM

    VITA will be offering another round of our free classes called “Preparing for the Citizenship Tes...


  • Shadows at The Shadows

    10/24/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Photographer and filmmaker James Edmunds' will be displaying his most recent photographs in a new...


  • Shadows at The Shadows

    10/25/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Photographer and filmmaker James Edmunds' will be displaying his most recent photographs in a new...


  • Artist Talk with Steven Breaux

    10/25/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Explore the work of UL Lafayette Professor of Visual Arts, Steven Breaux. This talk is presented ...


  • Ladies Night Karaoke

    10/25/2017
    09:00PM — 02:00AM

    Double whammy! Not only is Karaoke back every Wednesday, but so is Ladies Night! Ladies, come in ...


  • Shadows at The Shadows

    10/26/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Photographer and filmmaker James Edmunds' will be displaying his most recent photographs in a new...


  • Movement Lab is a group of dance artists and enthusiasts that come together to explore and experi...


  • Shadows at The Shadows

    10/27/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Photographer and filmmaker James Edmunds' will be displaying his most recent photographs in a new...


  • Shadows at The Shadows

    10/23/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Photographer and filmmaker James Edmunds' will be displaying his most recent photographs in a new...


  • Citizenship Class

    10/23/2017
    01:30PM — 05:30PM

    VITA will be offering another round of our free classes called “Preparing for the Citizenship Tes...


  • Shadows at The Shadows

    10/24/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Photographer and filmmaker James Edmunds' will be displaying his most recent photographs in a new...


  • Shadows at The Shadows

    10/25/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Photographer and filmmaker James Edmunds' will be displaying his most recent photographs in a new...


  • Artist Talk with Steven Breaux

    10/25/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Explore the work of UL Lafayette Professor of Visual Arts, Steven Breaux. This talk is presented ...


  • Ladies Night Karaoke

    10/25/2017
    09:00PM — 02:00AM

    Double whammy! Not only is Karaoke back every Wednesday, but so is Ladies Night! Ladies, come in ...


  • Shadows at The Shadows

    10/26/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Photographer and filmmaker James Edmunds' will be displaying his most recent photographs in a new...


  • Movement Lab is a group of dance artists and enthusiasts that come together to explore and experi...


  • Shadows at The Shadows

    10/27/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Photographer and filmmaker James Edmunds' will be displaying his most recent photographs in a new...


  • Halloween Bikes and Barks Pet Fest

    10/28/2017
    09:00AM — 02:00PM

    Come on out with your family and pet to celebrate Halloween. Dog,kid and adult costume contest $5...


  • Blessing New Iberia Harvest Festival

    10/28/2017
    10:00AM — 03:00PM

    Please come out and support Blessing New Iberia 2 nd Annual Harvest Festival. There will be ve...


  • Shadows at The Shadows

    10/28/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Photographer and filmmaker James Edmunds' will be displaying his most recent photographs in a new...


  • Make & Take Halloween Container Garden

    10/28/2017
    10:00AM — 11:00AM

    Dig in this fall seminar Make & Take workshop to create a festive Halloween container garden comp...


  • National Night Out On Crime - Broussard, La.

    10/28/2017
    05:30PM — 08:30PM

    34th Annual Night Out On Crime - 701 St Nazaire Rd, Broussard, LA 70518 St. Julien Park, Address


  • Entry Fee $ 3.00. Live Band performance by Gerald Broussard Jr- The Cajun Cowboy and the Stirrup...


  • Jamie Bergeron & the Kickin' Cajuns

    10/29/2017
    03:00PM — 09:00PM

    Bar hours 3-9 p.m. Happy Hour 3-4 p.m. Live music from 4-8 p.m. 21+ ONLY


  • Shadows at The Shadows

    10/30/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Photographer and filmmaker James Edmunds' will be displaying his most recent photographs in a new...


  • We were so excited about our last CAN meeting and can’t wait to see everyone again. At this meeti...


  • Citizenship Class

    10/30/2017
    01:30PM — 05:30PM

    VITA will be offering another round of our free classes called “Preparing for the Citizenship Tes...


  • Shadows at The Shadows

    10/31/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Photographer and filmmaker James Edmunds' will be displaying his most recent photographs in a new...


  • Pumpkin Palooza

    10/31/2017
    05:30PM — 07:30PM

    Join us on Tuesday, October 31st for a Halloween filled night for all ages. There will be games, ...


  • Toddler Time

    11/01/2017
    10:00AM — 11:00AM

    Parents and their children will enjoy story time, songs with finger play, participate in a hands-...


  • Shadows at The Shadows

    11/01/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Photographer and filmmaker James Edmunds' will be displaying his most recent photographs in a new...


  • UL Dance Department Showcase

    11/01/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Join us for a night of dance at the museum! University students will perform solo and duet pieces...


  • Ladies Night Karaoke

    11/01/2017
    09:00PM — 02:00AM

    Double whammy! Not only is Karaoke back every Wednesday, but so is Ladies Night! Ladies, come in ...


  • Shadows at The Shadows

    11/02/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Photographer and filmmaker James Edmunds' will be displaying his most recent photographs in a new...


  • Ladies Night

    11/02/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    You're Invited to our Free Ladies Night on November 2 from 6-8pm! We'll have free Wine, Hors d'oe...


  • Shadows at The Shadows

    11/03/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Photographer and filmmaker James Edmunds' will be displaying his most recent photographs in a new...


  • Shadows at The Shadows

    11/04/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Photographer and filmmaker James Edmunds' will be displaying his most recent photographs in a new...


  • Make & Take Salad Bowl

    11/04/2017
    10:00AM — 11:00AM

    Dig in this fall seminar Make & Take workshop to create a salad bowl container garden complete wi...


  • Shadows at The Shadows

    11/06/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Photographer and filmmaker James Edmunds' will be displaying his most recent photographs in a new...


  • Citizenship Class

    11/06/2017
    01:30PM — 05:30PM

    VITA will be offering another round of our free classes called “Preparing for the Citizenship Tes...


  • Scotch Doubles (10)

    11/06/2017
    06:00PM

    Join us every other Monday for our Scotch Doubles tournament. Registration starts at 6p, tourname...


  • Shadows at The Shadows

    11/07/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Photographer and filmmaker James Edmunds' will be displaying his most recent photographs in a new...


  • Shadows at The Shadows

    11/08/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Photographer and filmmaker James Edmunds' will be displaying his most recent photographs in a new...


  • Cuban Acadiana

    11/08/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Jeanerette Museum presents Cuban Acadiana, a talk about the Cuban exiles who escaped Castro commu...


  • History Department Teach-In

    11/08/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    The UL Lafayette History Department will be hosting a talk on the “Uses and Abuses of History in ...


  • Ladies Night Karaoke

    11/08/2017
    09:00PM — 02:00AM

    Double whammy! Not only is Karaoke back every Wednesday, but so is Ladies Night! Ladies, come in ...


  • Shadows at The Shadows

    11/09/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Photographer and filmmaker James Edmunds' will be displaying his most recent photographs in a new...


  • Jewelry show at Dianna Rae Jewelry. Free admission but must RSVP in advance.


  • Shadows at The Shadows

    11/10/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Photographer and filmmaker James Edmunds' will be displaying his most recent photographs in a new...


  • Poetry Reading with Poet Laureate Jack Bedell

    11/10/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Jack Bedell, Louisiana’s newest Poet Laureate, will read selections from “Revenant” and “Bone-Hol...


  • Jewelry show at Dianna Rae Jewelry. Free admission but must RSVP in advance.


  • CJ Solar & Jaryd Lane

    11/10/2017
    08:00PM — 01:00AM

    This show is for anyone that likes their country a little on the rock side! CJ Solar is a Nashvi...


  • Poetry Workshop with Jack Bedell

    11/11/2017
    09:00AM — 01:00PM

    Dig deeper into the written word with a pilot poetry workshop led by Jack Bedell. The workshop wi...


  • Shadows at The Shadows

    11/11/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Photographer and filmmaker James Edmunds' will be displaying his most recent photographs in a new...


  • Join in this free fall seminar on everything you need to know on fall planting, pruning, the tool...


  • Yoga in the Galleries

    11/11/2017
    11:00AM — 12:00PM

    Join us on the second Saturday each month for yoga at the Hilliard Museum led by an RYT-200 certi...


  • Chili/Gumbo Cook-off 2017

    11/12/2017
    03:00PM — 05:00PM

    All of Acadiana is welcome to join The Bayou Church for our annual Chili/Gumbo Cook-off! Along wi...


  • Spell-a-bration

    11/12/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us for Spell-a-bration 2017 - a spelling bee for adults! Teams of 3 will compete for the ann...


  • Shadows at The Shadows

    11/13/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Photographer and filmmaker James Edmunds' will be displaying his most recent photographs in a new...


  • Citizenship Class

    11/13/2017
    01:30PM — 05:30PM

    VITA will be offering another round of our free classes called “Preparing for the Citizenship Tes...


 

 

Current Issue