The Reasoning Behind Yawning


Kynslee White

Have you ever wondered more about yawning? Why do we do it? Why do I yawn when I see my mom yawn? These are questions that can vary in results. There are many different theories found as to why our bodies react the way they do when it comes to yawning. Here are some of the most common ones I found. 

Why do we yawn?

After doing a lot of different research, I have concluded that there are several different reasons why we yawn. The one that I found repeatedly as the main reason is to balance the temperatures of our bodies. After reading on the Britannica website, I found that when our bodies are warm we tend to yawn more. That goes with saying when our bodies are cold, we tend to yawn less. Now you may be wondering how it cools down our bodies? Well when you yawn, your jaw is opening wide and your jaw goes to a low position. Our blood flow is heightened and is cooled down when we have that intake of air. 

Why is yawning contagious?

When I research why yawning is contagious, I come up with many different theories. There were two that seemed to be the most common. The first one is a phenomenon, which in more simple terms is mirroring. This is when we see a behavior and we mimic it. We see someone else cooling down so our bodes tell us that we need to do it as well. The next reason why that I found was that we are creatures of empathy. According to “ when we see someone yawn, it activates parts of our brains that are involved in social behavior. We’re also more likely to yawn when we see someone close to us, like a family member, do so.” This shows that it could be an empathetic response. 

How do you stop yawning?

Well the first thing that comes to mind after reading why we yawn would be to cool your body down. Like I mentioned before, you tend to yawn less in a cool environment. So turn on some AC, move to a cool room, drink a cold drink, or anything you can think of to cool your body down. Another study that is found to reduce yawning is to become active. If you’re sitting still thinking about how tired you are, you are more likely to yawn. If you are changing that up and become active, it may help you stop. 


I talked with two students at our school about their views on yawning. I asked Analiz Rivas and Madison Carter a couple questions. Here are the results:

1.Where or When do you find yourself yawning the     most? (school, the gym, morning, etc.)

Madison: ” I yawn the most at school, in the morning,  or the end of the day. When I start to feel less        energized I start to yawn”.

Analiz: ” I mostly find myself yawning in the morning during class or even if we are watching a video for the whole hour I find myself yawning a lot.” 

       2. How many times a day would you say you yawn?

Madison: ” I would say I yawn five times a day”

Analiz: ” I probably yawn a bout 20 times a day, it just depends if I got good sleep the night before.”

        3.What comes to mind when you think of the word yawning?

Madison: “When I think of the word yawning I think of rolling out of bed in the morning”

Analiz: “When I think of the word yawning I picture being tired and seeing teeth.”

       4.Have you ever seen an animal yawn?

Madison: ” I have seen an animal yawn. My dog yawns often”

Analiz: “I’ve seen a lion and tiger yawn before especially when I’m watching NAtGeo Wild.”