A yawn is an automatic and involuntary action consisting of the simultaneous inhalation of air and the widening of the eardrums, followed by an exhalation of breath. This article focuses on the good side of yawning, we will specifically consider 8 amazing benefits of a yawn
Oscitation commonly known as ‘Yawning’ most often occurs in adults immediately before and after sleep, during tedious activities and as a result of its contagious quality. It is commonly related to tiredness, stress, sleepiness, or even boredom and hunger.
Yawning consists of an involuntary wide opening of mouth with maximal stretching of jaw, together with a long and deep inhalation through the mouth and nose, followed by a slow expiration, associated with a feeling of comfort. The average duration of the yawn is 5 seconds.
8 Amazing Benefits of a Yawn – The Good Side of Yawning
Yawning Stimulates Arousal
The arousal occurring after yawning is being considered to be due to the mechanical stimulation of carotid body. The carotid bodies are highly vascularized, and their compressions may thus affect their shunt system, thereby leading to release of hormones such as adenosine and catecholamines, which afterwards transfer the arousal response.
Yawning Helps in Cooling Your Brain
Yawning occurs before, during and after instances of abnormal thermoregulation, heat stress and hyperthermia. Patients with clinical disorders such as multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, migraine, stress, anxiety, head trauma, and stroke experience excessive yawning which is followed by temporary cessation of their symptoms. This is because these conditions lead to an increase in the body core temperature, thereby resulting in abnormal thermoregulation, which the body then tries to correct transiently by way of yawning.
Yawning helps to calm your brain by forcing you to breathe deeply and by increasing blood flow to the brain through the act of stretching your jaw.
Yawning Relieves Ear Pressure
Yawning relieves the ear discomfort and hearing problems that are commonly experienced by people during rapid altitude changes in airplanes and elevators. It is helpful in normalizing the air pressure in the middle ear with the outside air pressure.
Yawning Indicates The Insufficiency Of Oxygen In The Brain or Blood (Brain Hypoxia)
Yawning occurs when blood or brain oxygenation is insufficient, that is, when oxygen levels decrease and carbon dioxide concentration rises. Yawning is thought to remove “bad air” from the lungs and increase Oxygen circulation in the brain.
Another theory about why we yawn is to allow the in-flow of more oxygen into our bodies. When you yawn, you fill your lungs with oxygen and remove a build-up of carbon dioxide. This might explain why we tend to yawn more in the company of others. Larger groups of people produce more carbon dioxide, which means you need more oxygen to counterbalance.
Yawning Rejuvenates the Brain
It’s actually the body’s way of rejuvenating the brain (that is, to restore it back to its original state of been young, dynamic and effective) so that it can function more effectively.
Yawning increases mental efficiency
Yawning stimulates a nerve or the nervous system of the brain that plays a major role in being more conscious and self-reflective, and that also aids in relaxation, alertness, and maintaining a good memory. Any time you breathe deeply, your brain waves slow down and your muscles get the message to relax.
Yawning helps the brain maintain balance
Yawning increases when people are engaged in difficult mental work something you’ve no doubt noticed in your own life. Yawning staves off sleep! Yawning helps contract the facial muscles, which forces blood through cerebral blood vessels to the brain and this, scientists say, may function to increase alertness.
Yawning helps you ‘reset’ yourself
That’s right ‘it’s almost like pushing the ‘reset’ button on an electronic device. When you yawn, you help regulate your body’s circadian rhythms, or the roughly 24-hour cycle of human behavior and biological activity.
• Some of the other benefits of yawning include increasing memory, improved self-examination, improves your sense of timing, enhances pleasure and lowers stress.
• Yawning can lift your mood. When you yawn, your dopamine levels rise. This activates oxytocin, or pleasure and relationship-bonding chemicals.
The Science of Stretching And Yawning (Pandiculation)
To stretch your body while waking up from a good sleep can feel fabulous. As you yawn you open your mouth wide for 4-6 seconds, stretch your respiratory tract and diaphragm and inflate your lungs. We call it stretching but in your body the opposing muscle groups contract together tighter and tighter until joints, limbs and trunk are fully extended and then you reach that peak in tension. The release of the tension coincides with a sense of pleasure. This coordinated stretching and yawning is an involuntary act called Pandiculation.
Benefits of Pandiculation to Our Health When It Comes to Stretching
• Pandiculation might maintain optimal connections between muscles and nervous system.
• Pandiculation after sleep might help our body transition out of a state where motor activity is inhibited in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep to a state of readiness so we can react to danger.
• Pandiculation seems to be triggered by periods of immobility or asymmetrical positions and probably keep things moving smoothly, while also resetting limbs to their correct positions.
• Our muscles and soft tissues are constantly remodeling and their shapes depend on forces exerted on them and their positions. Muscles are supported by a scaffold called the extracellular matrix.
Read also: 17 Reasons Why Body Stretching is A Must
Benefits of Pandiculation to Our Health When It Comes to Yawning
• Yawning is a special case of pandiculation. While the stretching part of pandiculation gets your body ready for action, the yawning part is thought to get your brain ready and more alert.
• Yawning might occur after waking or near bedtime as an effort to delay sleep. When bored, yawning is thought to ward off daydreaming and so we can stay focused.
• Another benefit of yawning is cooling the brain. Evidence shows that yawning is triggered by a rise in brain temperature, not low oxygen as is commonly believed. It is thought to bring cooler blood into the brain and push warmer blood away.
• The cerebral spinal fluid outside the brain may also get circulated during yawning and this might flush out sleep-inducing molecules.
Read more on why we yawn here.