Healthy Living

Why Are Yawns Contagious? Interesting Reasons Everyone Needs To Know

by Gorgeousgirl Staff, Updated August 12, 2021
Why Are Yawns Contagious? Interesting Reasons Everyone Needs To Know

Have you ever seen, anyone yawn and a few moments later, you find yourself yawning? Or maybe you just heard it, and still, you were infected by it! Funny, isn’t it? It actually happens even on the phone! When you hear someone yawning on the phone, somehow, it triggers you to mimic the yawn! It really is strange and funny. Why are yawns contagious? Let’s find out!

While at it, let’s find out more details and more facts about yawning. This is a fun topic that you should know about. Can you know if someone likes you by yawning? Let’s see!

1. What Is Yawning?

What Is Yawning
Yawning, in scientific definition, is a reflex that leads us to inhale while stretching the eardrum simultaneously then followed by exhalation.

Yawning is most often accompanied by stretching. Sleepiness, tiredness, boredom, and sometimes hunger, are related causes of yawning.

Yawning is not exclusive to humans. In fact, many animals also have the same reflex and you can see them do it in the same manner.

2. Why Do We Yawn?

Why Do We Yawn

There are many theories that attempt to explain what causes yawning. Researchers have been trying to identify the main function and cause of yawning. Unfortunately, there has been no solid grounds and reports that explain the reflex. However, they have discovered a few indicators and triggers of the yawn reflex.

  • Increased Carbon Dioxide In The Bloodstream

    A popular theory tells that yawns are the result of excess carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. Yawning trigger us to inhale more oxygen to compensate for the lack and exhale the carbon dioxide waste material. This is a long-standing theory that many people have adapted to explain why we yawn.

    This is how it is related why we yawn more often in the morning upon waking up. During sleep, the body is more relaxed and slows down some of its function. The same goes when you are tired and sleepy at night. The body is preparing to rest and gradually slows down the bodily processes.

  • Nervousness

    According to another theory, nervousness suggests the perception of an imminent action. Some anecdotal indication suggests that the act of yawning increases the level of alertness by a few notches. Although, there is no specific, concrete evidence that can back this up.
    This is especially observed in groups of animals. According to a study, the yawn is passed along to increase the awareness of everyone in the group and be more vigilant.

  • Brain Temperature Regulation

    A study led by the researchers at the University of Albany suggests that yawning actually helps regulate the brain temperature. They experimented by placing cold packs on the foreheads of participants and played a video loop of people yawning. They found out that people with cold packs were less likely to get infected by contagious yawning.


3. Why Are Yawns Contagious?

Why Are Yawns Contagious
I know why you are here. You want to find out why are yawns so contagious. Right? Well, there is such a thing called echo phenomenon in the field of psychology. It is a condition where people, or animals, mimic or copy movements or gestures without a conscious knowledge of it.

These mimicking of gestures or actions can also be an indication of brainwave synchronization which happens to people who have spent more time together. Close families have been found to exhibit this occurrence.

A group of researchers from the University of Nottingham tried to unveil as much as they could form this phenomenon and asked 36 participants to play a part in their experiment. They have instructed that participants to stop themselves or let themselves yawn if they feel the urge while showing them video clips of yawning people

The results they had were remarkable and baffling at the same time. Firstly, they observed that resisting a yawn can be quite difficult. The other thing they found is that it becomes more difficult to resist a yawn reflex when you are told to stop it!


4. 5 Contagious Yawning Facts

Contagious Yawning Facts
With all the quantum advancements in our technology, it’s funny that there are still trivial things that science and research have not yet proven. But, just for fun, here are some evidence that proves why yawns are contagious and what it indicates.

1) Yawning is more contagious between friends

It 2002, HuffPost Science found out that people with deeper and more meaningful relationship pass along more contagious yawning spells within the circle. The closer the relationship is, the easier it is to get infected with a yawn.

2) Social Yawn

A social behavior explains why are yawns contagious in a herd. Theory suggests that yawning is a cue that triggers a herd instinct to synchronize their sleep. This happens mostly animals.

3) Human To Animal

Is yawning contagious to animals? The answer is yes! It has been observed that dogs get infected with human yawns. It is further seen that the closer the animal to the person, the higher the likelihood of getting the contagious yawn.

4) Toddlers Are Immune To Contagious Yawn

A study at the University of Connecticut in 2010 has found out that toddlers below the age of four are immune to the contagious yawn.

5) Yawning May Be a Sign Of Sleep Deprivation

Yawning is natural, and many people frequently yawn throughout the day. Some of it was triggered by the body’s own reflex, and some are triggered by someone else through its contagiousness. However, if you have noticed yourself yawning too much, it may be a sign of sleep deprivation.

If you are lying on bed and sleeping for 6-8 hours a day and feel tired and find yourself frequently yawning, it may be an indication that you are not getting quality sleep. This may be a prompt to visit a physician expert in sleep.

5. Yawn All You Want

Contagious Yawning

Why are yawns contagious? We have learned that a contagious yawn is much more effective inside the context of close friends and families with deeper relationships. Can we use this as a measure of love? Probably not! It’s just nice to know that a yawn means that your friends are taking comfort in your company!

“Hope you find the post helpful and we are excited to hear what you think of it!”

By Gorgeousgirl Staff

At GorgeousGirl, our staff is a collection of highly skilled cosmetologists, estheticians, and higher education professionals. Our personnel works together to satisfy your fancies.