Have you ever wondered why we yawn? It’s a question to which we don’t really know the answer. The purpose of yawning still remains something of a mystery although we all agree that it’s a pleasurable sensation.
Stretching the muscles of the mouth to yawn brings a pleasure that we wouldn’t be without: a sense of wellbeing, a slight loss of contact with the world around you, a brief moment of intense pleasure …. And there’s a good reason why. When we yawn, it releases endorphins into our body – these “wellbeing hormones” have an effect similar to that of morphine! But that’s not all. Strangely enough, yawning also makes us more alert.
But what causes us to stretch our jaws in this way? The reasons are as varied as they are curious. Feeling tired is, of course, one reason, but so is boredom, reduced concentration, waking up, feeling hungry and … imitation. Simply talking about yawning or seeing someone else yawn can trigger you to yawn too. Yawning also helps to correct the pressure balance in your ears, when travelling by plane, for example.
A yawn lasts for a relatively standard length of time but varies according to the individual. It is normally between 3 and 5 seconds. Although yawning may appear to be nothing more than opening your mouth wide, in fact it involves a more general stretching movement that takes in the muscles of the face, the neck and the respiratory muscles. So … how are you feeling now? Have you finished yawning yet? There’s nothing more for us to do now than to wish you a good night’s sleep!
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