Why do we and other animals yawn? When someone is yawning, we often find ourselves doing it as well.
There is no known scientific reason for the practice which is common to all in the animal kingdom but there are theories.
One popular theory is that it may actually be a mechanism we use to control the temperature of our brains. There are studies that seem to suggest that cooling the forehead reduces the times we yawn, supporting this theory.
Check out this interesting article on yawning, what we know and why animals do it.
Why Do We Yawn and Why Is It Contagious?
Pinpointing exactly why we yawn is a tough task, but the latest research suggests that our sleepy sighs help to regulate the temperature of our brains.
by Marina Koren
Snakes and fish do it. Cats and dogs do it. Even human babies do it inside the womb. And maybe after seeing the picture above, you’re doing it now: yawning.
Yawning appears to be ubiquitous within the animal kingdom. But despite being such a widespread feature, scientists still can’t explain why yawning happens, or why for social mammals, like humans and their closest relatives, it’s contagious.
As yawning experts themselves will admit, the behavior isn’t exactly the hottest research topic in the field. Nevertheless, they are getting closer to the answer to these questions. An oft-used explanation for why we yawn goes like this: when we open wide, we suck in oxygen-rich air. The oxygen enters our bloodstream and helps to wake us up when we’re falling asleep at our desks.
Sounds believable, right? Unfortunately, this explanation is actually a myth, says Steven Platek, a psychology professor at Georgia Gwinnett College. So far, there’s no evidence that yawning affects levels of oxygen in the bloodstream, blood pressure or heart rate.