Yawning is the involuntary wide opening of your mouth with the maximum widening of the jaw together with a long and deep inhalation through both the nose and mouth and then followed by a slow and gradual expiration that gives a person a feeling of comfort.
Studies have shown that the average duration of a yawn is 5 seconds. Yawning is often accompanied by stretching of limbs. While yawning has been associated with boredom and is commonly perceived as disrespectful when done in the presence of others, studies have shown a possible physiological explanation for this useless act.
Some studies have evidently shown that yawning could result from drowsiness, but further research is needed to give clear causes.
While yawning is normal for everyone, you may wonder why people make noise when they yawn. In this guide, I will share some of my findings from various online research on why people yawn.
Why Do People Yawn?
There is no scientific evidence as to why people yawn. However, several theories have been developed through years of research and data collection to try and explain the reasons behind yawning.
Some scientists argue that yawning is a physiological function that helps cool down the brain or keep it awake. In contrast, others stress that it’s a psychosocial function that enables people to communicate that they are bored, sleepy, or stressed.
Yawning Helps Keep the Brain Awake
One of the theories states that yawning helps keep the brain awake during passive or boring activities.
The process of yawning activates the face and neck muscles. Researchers think this movement stimulates the carotid artery, causing an increase in heart rate and the production of chemicals that promote alertness.
Experts hypothesize that yawning also may alter brain activity by inducing brain fluid to flow away from a resting state and into a more active one.
It has been discovered that the skin’s electrical conductance significantly increases when you yawn– giving similar effects to when one consumes caffeine. And because the caffeine helps wakefulness, scientists have concluded that the similar physiological response of yawning serves the same function.
Further evidence of this theory is the types of activities when yawning is likely to happen. For instance, people tend to yawn when involved in passive activities such as watching television, driving, or listening to a lecture.
They are less likely to yawn when involved in active activities, like talking, cooking, or playing football.
Yawning Helps Cooldown the Brain
Yawning helps in brain thermoregulation, a process through which the brain regulates and maintains its temperature.
When yawning, the facial muscles stretch and contract, boosting blood circulation to the face and increasing heat dissipation. Some folks’ eyes tear up when they yawn, releasing heat. Similarly, taking a deep breath assists in delivering blood that is cooler to the brain.
Although further study is necessary, experimental studies of people and animals have shown validity for the thermoregulatory theory. A survey of parakeets revealed, for instance, that they yawned more when the surrounding temperature increased, notably when it reached their body temperature.
In a human study, researchers put a warm or cold pack on the foreheads of participants as they saw clips of people yawning. Those with the heated pack yawned more in reaction to the videos than those with the cold pack.
Yawning is quite contagious. Most people often tend to yawn when they see other people yawn. Sometimes, even thinking or reading about yawning can prompt you to yawn.
The contagious nature of yawning implies that it may be an empathic reaction that facilitates communication between humans and other creatures. Brain imaging studies reveal that brain regions related to empathy and social interaction exhibit increased activity when a person observes another individual yawn.
Other studies have shown that yawning aids in opening the eustachian tubes that connect your throat to your ears. This action can assist in alleviating the irritating pressure buildup that happens when the ear doesn’t have sufficient time to equalize, such as during an aircraft landing.
Since swallowing accomplishes the same goal, experts do not think this to be the primary cause of yawning.
Sounds That People Make When they Yawn
When you yawn, you may hear some strange sounds in your ears. What do these sounds mean? Below are some of the noises and what they mean.
Popping or Crackling
You often hear crackling or popping sounds when there are pressure changes in your ears. While yawning can cause this, other things, such as going underwater or changing altitude, could also be a cause. The eustachian tube in your ear is where these noises originate from. It occurs when the passageway opens allowing fluid and air to pass, resulting in these sounds.
This isn’t much common, but if you hear it, you are the one causing the noise to occur. Have you ever noticed that you hear some low rumbling when you have that big yawn?
Well, that’s the sound of the muscles in your ears contracting to help provide damage control. They lower the volume of yawning, chewing, or when talking. Activities such as chewing and yawning are so near to your ears, and even though they aren’t that loud, they can still be damaging to your ears.
Ways To Stop Yawning Loudly
While yawning isn’t a concern, it can be pretty embarrassing, depending on the situation. For example, yawning during a job interview or a severe work meeting could indicate to your workmates or interviewers that you’re bored and could send a wrong message to them. To avoid such embarrassing moments, here is what you should do.
Take a Deep Breath
If you find yourself excessively yawning, attempt deep-nose breathing exercises. Your body might require additional oxygen. A 2007 study showed that nasal breathing entirely reduced contagious yawning.
Exhaustion and dehydration go hand in hand, and this results in yawning. Therefore, it’s highly recommended you drink lots of water throughout the day to keep yourself rehydrated, which might keep the yawns away.
Besides drinking water, eating fruits such as watermelon and drinking coconut water will help keep you hydrated.
It’s essential to get more hours of sleep each day. Doctors recommend getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Create a regular routine for yourself where you go to bed and wake up at the same time seven days a week. Failing to get sufficient sleep might make you yawn more frequently.
Cool Yourself Down
You could also consider walking outside or locating a cooler location. If you don’t have time to do this, sip some cool water or nibble on something chilled, such as berries or small carrots.
Close Your Nose And Open Your Mouth
When we yawn, our mouth reflexively expands wide. To reduce noise, pinch your nose shut while performing the task. This will prevent you from producing that annoying “ah” sound as you exhale.
From above, it’s evident that yawning helps out body regulate brain temperature and so much more. But while it’s normal for people to yawn, it can be quite embarrassing, depending on the circumstances. Above are some of the methods you can employ today to ensure that you yawn quietly regardless of the situation you find yourself in.
Meet Mike O’Connor, (a DIY enthusiast), living in Cincinnati, a city ranked as the noisiest in the USA.
As a work from home dad, I have a first hand experience of how noise can truly affect your well being.
Soundproofing isn’t something that should be taken as a hobby, it should be a skill that every homeowner should be equipped with.
Most of the work documented on this blog comes from purely first hand experience, and the products recommended work as indicated.