Does It Mean You’re Tired When You Yawn?

Yawning is something we do everyday and just about all animals yawn from humans to even snakes. Before we were even born we started to yawn. Babies yawn in utero! We do it when we are tired and we even do it when we are wide awake. We also yawn when we see someone else do it.

There are many theories as to why we yawn. Yes it seems simple enough but there are many theories as to why we yawn, the newest and most promising one being that it’s a means of cooling the brain. We will discuss that later.

Why Do We Yawn?

Yawning, like sneezing, is one of those actions that you have very little control over. For a long time we believed that a yawn is a way of getting more oxygen and ridding us of excess carbon dioxide.

Even as far back as 400 B.C. Hippocrates suggested yawning was a means of expelling “bad air” from the body. However, this theory has basically been discarded by recent research. In studies, people were placed in environments with more or less oxygen, and it had no effect on how much they yawned.

Why Do We Yawn When We Aren’t Tired?

Yawning is usually associated with sleepiness or boredom, however research has found that we also yawn when we’re stressed. Athletes have been observed by researchers yawning more before they compete and paratroopers yawning before jumping out of a plane for the first time.

Researchers have been puzzled for awhile as to why we yawn in various situations; and not just when we’re tired or bored. One possible explanation is that yawning helps your brain and body shift from one state to another. For example, it helps you wake up when you’re sleepy, and conversely, it helps you feel more alert when you’re bored.

When a person yawns, it also helps to calm you down when anxious. A new theory has emerged in the last few years that finally seems to be the answer.

Yawning Regulates Your Body’s Thermostat

The latest research suggests that we yawn to protect our brains from overheating. Boredom, sleepiness, hunger, anxiety: What do these things have in common? Interestingly, they all seem to cause an increase in brain temperature. Sensitive to changes in temperature, the brain functions best when it’s cool. Yawning may be your body’s way of bringing cool air into your head to chill out your brain.

What Does Excessive Yawning Mean?

Usually it just means you’re tired and didn’t get enough sleep the night before. There are some health conditions, however, that can cause a person to yawn much more than usual. Some people have been known to yawn excessively when they’re having a heart attack, though this is rare.

People with epilepsy, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis and migraines have also been observed experiencing excessive yawning. These conditions have also been linked with thermoregulatory dysfunction. This is when the body has trouble maintaining ideal temperature.

People with epilepsy sometimes have bouts of yawning before a seizure, and yawning can also be a sign of an oncoming migraine. The reason for this could be that neurological disorders overheat the brain, and excessive yawning kicks in as a way to cool it down.

Are Yawns Contagious?

It happens to us all! See someone yawn, and suddenly you need to yawn. It’s funny because even looking at a picture of someone yawning can trigger it. Yawns are obviously contagious (and not just in humans), but there’s a lot of debate about why this is.

Contagious yawning could be a sign of empathy. One study conducted on children found that kids younger than four didn’t “catch” yawns. Instead, it’s been found that they develop the ability to empathize with others.

The study also found that children with autism were less likely to yawn in response to another person’s yawn. In another study, college students took a personality test and were then shown video clips of yawning. The study found that the less empathetic people were less likely to yawn contagiously.

Another theory of contagious yawning suggests it’s a primitive form of communication meant to keep a group vigilant and safe from danger. This actually works with the idea that yawning cools the brain. It could be that in groups, when one individual yawns, the rest pick up the behavior in order to maintain optimal brain function.

Remember it’s all just a theory but the brain-cooling theory seems to explain a lot about why we yawn, both spontaneously and contagiously. Future research may prove it true or disprove it entirely. There’s obviously a lot we still don’t understand about yawning, but one thing’s we do know is it’s definitely a sign that you’re tired.

And when you are tired like that, jumping into a comfortable bed and getting some rest seems to be a reasonable thing to do, but what if your bed is not so comfortable and can’t provide you with the rest you need? In such case you might start looking for a new mattress to replace your old one.

However, with so many options available these days, it may be hard for you to pick the best. If you are not sure what would be a perfect option for you, you can visit our mattress reviews page, read our reviews of some of the best mattresses offered by online mattress companies and you’ll certainly find one capable of meeting all your specific needs and sleep preferences and providing you with the level of comfort and support you need for a restful and sound sleep.