Anatomy And Physiology

Anatomy Physiology

Yohanna Farrell's image for:
"Anatomy Physiology"
Image by: 

See how many times you yawn while reading about yawning. It's quite amazing actually. Now imagine writing about yawning, I think I yawned on every other line.

Everybody in the world yawns, men, women and children of all ages. Even some birds, reptiles and most of earth's mammals yawn. As there is very little research into yawning, as it is not a problem for most people in the world. This means why we yawn is a little bit of a mystery.
When we yawn the average amount of time it takes is 6 seconds, and we start to do this around eleven weeks after our conception. Yawning somehow becomes contagious between the first and second years of our life. I realized this when I was about 6 or 7 and used to really annoy my mum by pretending to yawn and actually cause her to really do it. I found this hilarious as any 6/7 year old would.

The hypothalamus in your brain plays an important role in the process of yawning. I found out that some research has shown that if you inject Nero-peptides into an animal's hypothalamus it actually increases how much the animal yawns. Although, I don't agree with testing things like that on animals.

We all know that when we are board, we yawn. After doing some more research I found a test that scientist carried out confirming that when you are board you yawn. They got a bunch of 17 to19-year-old students and made them watch 2 videos. One was a music video, which obviously the students loved. The second was of an uninteresting color test bar pattern test. Needless to say the students found this uninteresting.

Their results for this test showed that when the students were entertained they only yawned 3.41 times in 30 minutes. On the other hand when they were board they yawned 5.78 times in 30 minutes. The average duration of the yawn when they were board was also slightly longer. An unexpected discovery found that male students yawned for longer than female students.

Many people believe that we yawn to receive more oxygen into our lungs. This does have some truth to it according to this theory; when we are board or tired we tend to breath slowly and therefore less oxygen reaches our lungs. As the carbon dioxide builds up in our blood stream, our brain receives a message that results in a signal back to the lungs to take a deep breath (do I still have you?) therefore a yawn is produced. This theory may not be entirely true.

There have been many, many theories trying to find out why we yawn. Dr Robert Provine tried to prove that it was due to high carbon dioxide/ low oxygen content in blood. But he found that it was not so and yawning must be controlled by another mechanism. He also suggested that we yawn to increase the blood flow and speed up the heart rate. In 2007 it was proposed that yawning helps to cool the brain. When they tested this theory they found that people yawned more when they pressed a warm towel on their head to when they held a cool towel on their head.

However none of these theories have actually been proven, but I must say some of them are very interesting to read about. I even read somewhere that yawning was used as a signal in the war. Not entirely sure if this is true but then I wasn't in any of the wars so how would I know?

More about this author: Yohanna Farrell

From Around the Web