Yawning has been associated with exhaustion and, in some cases, boredom.
Yawning, also known as oscitation, is an involuntary act that involves opening one’s mouth and taking a deep breath of air, which is then exhaled. While it is regarded as a sign of exhaustion, it is also regarded as a sign of disrespect in social settings. This simple bodily function, however, may also be a sign of underlying health issues.
What we believe about yawning
Because many people believe yawning is a sign of boredom, it is considered socially unacceptable in many situations. Have you ever had the urge to yawn during an important meeting? Others may have looked at you as if you were disrespectful if you yawned. If they knew what yawning truly is, they’d realize it’s perfectly normal.
While you may have dismissed the occasional yawn as simply being tired, and you very well may be, your yawns could be telling you something more. This is why you yawn, from a simple bodily function to serious health concerns.
Here are five things your yawns may be trying to tell you:
- You must slow down: Your brain, in particular, requires rest. Yawning exchanges hot blood from the brain for cooler air from the lungs, which is why yawns are also known as the body’s natural radiator system.
- You’re exhausted: When you only get a few hours of sleep, your brain temperature rises, causing you to yawn in an attempt to cool it down. Unfortunately, while yawning may help you focus for a short period of time, it is not a complete cure for your tiredness.
- It’s contagious: You may be yawning because you saw someone else yawn. You yawn when you see someone else yawn.
- A medication side effect: Yawning can be a side effect of medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, which are commonly used to treat anxiety or depression.
- Excessive yawning has also been linked to heart disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, liver failure, and hypothyroidism.