Q:

What causes yawning?

A:

Quick Answer

The theories regarding why people yawn range from boredom to cooling the brain to helping the brain to stay more alert. Regardless of what causes yawning, it is widely accepted that yawning is contagious.

Know More
What causes yawning?
Credit: Peopleimages E+ Getty Images

Full Answer

According to the Huffington Post, sleep researchers are stumped on how yawning relates to sleep, but acknowledge that it often occurs in response to fatigue.

According to BGR, research from the University of Vienna suggests yawning helps to cool the brain, thereby keeping a person more alert and less inclined to fall asleep in inappropriate or unsafe circumstances. The research shows that yawning occurs less frequently when the ambient temperature is very hot or cold, suggesting that the act of yawning is indeed related to temperature.

Psychology Today reports that research has shown that yawning is tied to boredom and the power of suggestion, with most people yawning in reaction to seeing another person yawn. The paraventricular nucleus portion of the brain's hypothalamus emits a signal that causes a human being to yawn. This section of the brain also generates a hormone that increases significantly when a person is asleep and just before he awakes. Researchers say this may explain why most people yawn shortly after getting out of bed each morning.

Learn More

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What system does skin belong to?

    A:

    The skin belongs to the integumentary system. It is an organ designed to protect the body from outside harm and is the largest organ system in the human body.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the function of the reproductive system?

    A:

    In a large number of species, the reproductive system hosts organs and systems, such as gonads, needed for successful reproduction and also secretes sex hormones such as progesterone and testosterone, notes Wikipedia. In addition, the female of many species come with specialized structures for nourishing and protecting offspring until birth.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the torso area of the body?

    A:

    The torso is the main part of the body to which the neck and limbs attach, and it is a common feature of all vertebrates. The torso holds the body’s major internal organs except for the brain. Often, scientists refer to either the lower torso or the upper torso for better clarity.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What does the ventricle do?

    A:

    The heart has two ventricles, which primarily pump blood to the entire body, explains Regina Bailey on About.com. These are the lower two chambers of the heart, and they are separated by a septum into the left and right ventricle.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore