Why do people yawn?

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1. Overview

Yawning has fascinated people for hundreds of years and gave birth to many myths and superstitions over the years. Nowadays people know that this is a reflex of inspiration and exhalation that draws more oxygen into the bloodstream.

A reflex is an induced physical reaction over which people have no control. A yawning is often associated with fatigue, although this is not due to this action. People can also yawn due to stress, boredom, emotions and extended work program.


1. Overview
2. Yawning is contagious
3. Yawning caused by anxiety

2. Yawning is contagious

Have you noticed that the yawning seems to be a contagious reflex? If one person yawns, this determines another person to yawn. Researchers found that 40-60% of people who look to an image with someone yawning, will end yawning too. Even reading the word yawn can determine a person to yawn.

Although this contagious yawning is not understood, it is assumed that this could be the result of an unconscious herding behavior – a subtle way to communicate inside a group, exactly like birds that imitate each other, getting to fly in flock.

Some of the many scientific explanations on why people yawn say this is a physical need. A plausible explanation is that yawning reflex is triggered when the blood in the body needs more oxygen. Deep breathing helps replenish oxygen levels in the blood.

Another common theory is that by yawning, help regulate their body temperature. Other hypotheses suggest that the same brain chemicals that affect mood and emotions make us yawn.

3. Yawning caused by anxiety

People diagnosed with a type of anxiety disorder and who present a constant reflex of yawn should know that there is a connection between yawning and anxiety. In fact, excessive and constant yawning itself indicates that the central nervous system is hyperactive, which means that the headset is stressed or tense.

As such, people with anxiety disorders are captured yawning more often than others. But that does not mean conclusively that you already present anxiety disorders, if you really tend to frequently yawn. If it’s not about feeling anxious or panic attacks, you may actually suffer from other common cause of yawning: lack of sleep.

However, there are cases when people frequently yawn without being tired or sleepy. When a person is anxious he experiences an unconscious tension in the abdominal muscles, chest, shoulders and neck. Tension felt in these areas feels like the chest or abdomen is pressed, such as those experienced during an asthma attack.

This pressure compresses the lungs and thus leads to the act of yawning in order to breathe more oxygen. In the presence of chronic stress and anxiety, persistent yawning becomes a habit.

People who suffer from general anxiety disorder, panic attacks or any other type of anxiety issues, feel yawning like a reflex that helps to offset slight respiratory failure.

In fact, shallow breathing problems are common symptoms of general anxiety disorder. This condition can result in dozens of different symptoms that get worse the more a person thinks more about them.



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