Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

The Real Reason We Yawn!

ID-10091446It’s late afternoon. You are sitting in a meeting. Three people at the table yawn and you do the same.

Are you bored? Tired? Or what?

Need more coffee? Need more sleep? Or maybe you need a nice cool air-conditioned room!

Even though we do yawn more when we are tired, tired may not be the reason.

You may be yawning so your brain can keep you alert during stress. And that contagious effect seen at the table may be because the entire group needs to stay alert! Here is why.


Yawning is triggered by changes in the brain chemistry. The brain may be trying to keep itself cool.  Apparently our brains can overheat. When they do, reaction times slow as does memory. One theory is that when we yawn, the brain cools down.

Stressed? Anxious? Your brain heats up and yawning cools it down so it can function properly. So if Dr. Gallup at the State University of New York at Oneonta is correct, we need to keep it cool in our meetings and the yawning might just diminish.

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