We all know that yawning is contagious- just being around someone who is yawning often provokes the same reaction in oneself! And although the act of yawning might seem pointless, there are many health benefits to yawning:
- Yawning Cools the Brain: Research done by Princeton and University of Arizona proved that yawning acts as a natural temperature regulator when our heads start to get too hot. This explains why we tend to yawn twice as much in the summer than the winter, and also why we might be compelled to yawn during a workout.
- Yawning Supplies Oxygen: Yawning releases excess carbon dioxide from the lungs while providing the brain and lungs with fresh oxygen.
- Yawning Lubricates Eyes: When we yawn, the tear glands next to our eyes are squeezed in order to cleanse the eyeball and give clearer vision.
- Yawning Increases Mental Acuity: When you’re focused on a tedious task, you might find yourself yawning. This is the minds way of stimulating the neural area in your brain that makes you more conscious, relaxed, alert, and maintains memory retention.
- Yawning Stretches Your Muscles: Yawning stretches your facial muscles, chest muscles and eardrums. The stretching of the eardrums leads to increased listening focus.
- Yawning Leads to Happiness: Yawning leads to increased dopamine levels and oxytocin levels which lead to feelings of euphoria, pleasure, and happiness.
- So WHY is Yawning Contagious? There’s a real reason! Yawning triggers the mirror neurons that immediately prompt you to reflect another person’s behavior or emotional state.