Do not snooze! What does the yawn say?

By Yraa #ability, #able, #action, #activate, #activates, #activity, #adult, #against, #age, #air, #another, #antidepressants, #any, #apnea, #approximately, #area, #areas, #arises, #associated, #background, #bad, #becomes, #been, #begin, #begins, #behavior, #believe, #between, #block, #blood, #Body, #both, #breath, #breathing, #called, #cases, #cause, #causes, #century, #children, #Clear, #clearly, #cold, #come, #communication, #concentration, #condition, #conditions, #confirmed, #consists, #containing, #content, #contract, #cortisol, #days, #decision, #deeply, #deficiency, #designed, #develop, #developed, #development, #did, #different, #difficult, #discomfort, #disease, #disorders, #distinguish, #down, #drowsiness, #due, #ear, #effect, #effective, #effects, #either, #else, #emotional, #emotions, #enough, #even, #example, #exhalation, #exhaling, #experience, #experiences, #explains, #facilitate, #fact, #felt, #fish, #formation, #found, #frequently, #function, #functions, #gets, #go, #group, #happen, #he, #Healthy, #healthyinfo, #hearing, #Heat, #here, #high, #him, #his, #hold, #holding, #however, #human, #hunger, #ice, #identify, #impairment, #increased, #increases, #inhaling, #intense, #interesting, #involved, #itself, #just, #know, #lack, #leads, #least, #less, #level, #little, #lot, #lower, #lungs, #made, #maintain, #making, #may, #mechanism, #middle, #minimal, #modern, #moments, #moreover, #mouth, #move, #movements, #much, #muscles, #myth, #namely, #nature, #needs, #nervous, #normal, #nothing, #nuance, #observed, #occur, #off, #open, #ordinary, #others, #our, #oxygen, #patients, #people, #perhaps, #phenomenon, #physical, #physiological, #pleasant, #point, #popular, #prevents, #process, #production, #promotes, #proven, #provides, #psychological, #quickly, #quite, #rapid, #rather, #reason, #reasons, #reduces, #regulation, #relationship, #remove, #researchers, #response, #responsible, #rest, #restoration, #rise, #rises, #said, #say, #scientists, #second, #seconds, #see, #sensations, #sense, #serotonin, #serve, #several, #sharp, #she, #short, #show, #side, #significantly, #situation, #sleep, #sleepy, #slightly, #slowly, #small, #social, #some, #someone, #something, #special, #specific, #speed, #start, #still, #studies, #substances, #suffer, #supply, #surface, #symptom, #symptoms, #t, #taken, #taking, #temperature, #terms, #times, #touching, #trying, #turn, #turned, #under, #understand, #unusual, #us, #used, #uses, #vessels, #wakefulness, #want, #warm, #was, #way, #were, #while, #who, #why, #Women, #would

Yawn­ing ani­mals and small chil­dren are touch­ing. For some rea­son, a yawn­ing adult does not evoke such emo­tions, but at the same time, many peo­ple, when they see him, also begin to yawn. There is a lot of spec­u­la­tion about yawn­ing, but even sci­en­tists still do not under­stand until the end: what is yawn­ing and why does a per­son need it?

Healthy­in­fo fig­ured out why we yawn?

What is a yawn?

Yawn­ing is an invol­un­tary action. In mam­mals, a yawn con­sists of sev­er­al stages: open­ing the mouth, inhal­ing deeply, hold­ing the breath for a frac­tion of a sec­ond (short apnea) and exhal­ing slow­ly. In time, one yawn lasts approx­i­mate­ly 6 sec­onds. More than 90% of yawns occur at rest. In oth­er cas­es, yawn­ing serves social or emo­tion­al func­tions.

Fact!

Birds and fish also yawn, but in a slight­ly dif­fer­ent way than humans. They slow­ly open their mouth, hold it open for at least 3 sec­onds, and then quick­ly close it.

Many dif­fer­ent sub­stances are involved in the process of yawn­ing — neu­ro­trans­mit­ters, neu­ropep­tides, hor­mones. For exam­ple, dopamine, acetyl­choline, glu­ta­mate, sero­tonin, nitric oxide, adreno­cor­ti­cotrop­ic hor­mone (ACTH), oxy­tocin, and even steroid hor­mones facil­i­tate and acti­vate the process of yawn­ing. And oppress, block yawn­ing opi­oid pep­tides.

Not sur­pris­ing­ly, patients with Parkin­son’s dis­ease yawn sig­nif­i­cant­ly less fre­quent­ly than healthy peo­ple. This is due to a lack of dopamine. It also becomes clear why peo­ple yawn in stress­ful sit­u­a­tions: the stress hor­mone cor­ti­sol pro­duced at this time caus­es yawn­ing. This, by the way, explains why ani­mals that have to be trans­port­ed in cars yawn — no, they do not suf­fer from lack of air, they are just ner­vous.

There are sev­er­al the­o­ries explain­ing why and why a per­son yawns.

The myth of yawning from lack of air

The myth of yawning from lack of air

Even Hip­pocrates in the 4th cen­tu­ry BC. argued that yawn­ing is nec­es­sary for us to remove bad air from the lungs and increase the sup­ply of oxy­gen to the brain. This is the most per­sis­tent hypoth­e­sis that has come down to our days.

In mod­ern terms, this hypoth­e­sis sounds like this: when the brain expe­ri­ences a lack of oxy­gen, the con­cen­tra­tion of car­bon diox­ide (CO2) ris­es, and this leads to yawn­ing.

How­ev­er, dur­ing intense phys­i­cal exer­cise, when the body clear­ly needs an increased sup­ply of oxy­gen, peo­ple do not begin to yawn more often than at rest. Exper­i­ments with a high con­tent of CO2 in the air also did not con­firm this hypoth­e­sis. Against the back­ground of oxy­gen defi­cien­cy and increased con­cen­tra­tion of CO2, peo­ple began to breathe more often, and not yawn. Sci­en­tists have even con­firmed that when yawn­ing, the con­cen­tra­tion of oxy­gen in the blood does not increase.

Fact!

A per­son gets plea­sure from yawn­ing only if he opens his mouth. If he clenched his jaws in a polite way, he does not get a sense of sat­is­fac­tion.

The myth of yawning and arousal

In search of evo­lu­tion­ary rea­sons for the for­ma­tion of the mech­a­nism of yawn­ing, sci­en­tists have sug­gest­ed that yawn­ing is nec­es­sary to reg­u­late the state of vig­i­lance and is designed to excite the brain. Indeed, drowsi­ness caus­es yawn­ing. More­over, we most often yawn when we want to sleep or just woke up — that is, in moments of min­i­mal alert­ness. More­over, after yawn­ing, as obser­va­tions show, a per­son begins to move a lit­tle more inten­sive­ly.

But this hypoth­e­sis was not con­firmed either. No increase in brain exci­ta­tion was observed. Sleepy, yawn­ing peo­ple who for some rea­son can’t just go to sleep — for exam­ple, at an impor­tant meet­ing — do change their body posi­tion often, but sole­ly because they are try­ing to main­tain a state of wake­ful­ness, and not because they felt like it in the process of yawn­ing.

The myth of yawning and brain temperature regulation

The myth of yawning and brain temperature regulation

Quite pop­u­lar is the so-called ther­moreg­u­la­to­ry hypoth­e­sis — about “cool­ing the brain.” Its sup­port­ers believe that by yawn­ing, a per­son pro­vides an influx of cold air and cools an over­heat­ed brain. There have even been exper­i­ments that show how apply­ing an ice pack reduces yawn­ing and, con­verse­ly, a warm pack on the fore­head increas­es the num­ber of yawns. But here one nuance aris­es: the cold itself has an excit­ing effect, and heat caus­es drowsi­ness. So it is dif­fi­cult to dis­tin­guish between the effects of tem­per­a­ture and yawn­ing.

In addi­tion, stud­ies show that yawn­ing shuts off nor­mal nasal breath­ing, which is a much more effec­tive way of ven­ti­la­tion than yawn­ing.

Yawning and ear pressure

It is impor­tant for the human body to be able to equal­ize the air pres­sure in the mid­dle ear with respect to the air pres­sure out­side. Our body in mod­ern con­di­tions uses this skill when fly­ing on air­planes and climb­ing in high-speed ele­va­tors — with a rapid change in alti­tude, the pres­sure in the mid­dle ear increas­es, which caus­es dis­com­fort and hear­ing impair­ment. It is enough to yawn hearti­ly, as these sen­sa­tions dis­ap­pear, and hear­ing is restored.

How does this hap­pen? To equal­ize pres­sure inside and out, the eardrum and stapedius mus­cles con­tract and relax. This leads to the open­ing of the Eustachi­an tubes and aer­a­tion of the tym­pan­ic cav­i­ties.

But even in this case, it turned out that the pres­sure can be equal­ized not only by yawn­ing, but also by swal­low­ing, chew­ing and the Val­sal­va maneu­ver (intense exha­la­tion with the nose and mouth pinched). So the effect of yawn­ing in this per­spec­tive is rather a pleas­ant side effect, and not a spe­cial evo­lu­tion­ary devel­op­ment.

Yawn­ing and lung func­tion

There were also a num­ber of hypothe­ses that yawn­ing pre­vents atelec­ta­sis (col­lapse) of the lungs, pro­motes the restora­tion of sur­face-active films in the lungs, and cleans the lacu­nae of the pala­tine ton­sils. None of them have been proven.

Yawning and sleep

Yawning and sleep

Since yawn­ing does not turn on, per­haps, on the con­trary, it reduces the lev­el of arousal and pre­pares a per­son for sleep? No won­der we asso­ciate yawn­ing with sleep. How­ev­er, as the sci­en­tists report, “it was not pos­si­ble to estab­lish a causal rela­tion­ship between yawn­ing and drowsi­ness.”

Yawning and communication

Not dis­cov­er­ing the phys­i­o­log­i­cal caus­es of yawn­ing, sci­en­tists have tak­en up the social and com­mu­ni­ca­tion side of human nature. The fol­low­ing assump­tions have been made:

    Yawning is a demonstration of hunger or mild psychological stress to others.
    Yawning is used to synchronize group behavior. Translated into human language, this means that yawning is contagious.

The effect of “con­ta­gious yawn­ing” is indeed con­firmed by obser­va­tions: it is enough for one per­son to start yawn­ing for oth­ers to join him. More­over, women are 2 times more sus­cep­ti­ble to the yawn­ing of oth­ers.

An inter­est­ing point: in patients with dis­or­ders of social inter­ac­tion (autism and schiz­o­phre­nia, for exam­ple), the sus­cep­ti­bil­i­ty to some­one else’s yawn­ing is much low­er than in an ordi­nary healthy per­son.

Fact!

Until the age of 5, chil­dren do not have the phe­nom­e­non of con­ta­gious yawn­ing — they do not start yawn­ing at the sight of oth­er peo­ple yawn­ing. Sci­en­tists attribute this to the under­de­vel­op­ment of empa­thy at this age. By the way, among ani­mals, con­ta­gious yawn­ing is observed only in species with devel­oped empath­ic and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills: lions do not repeat their yawn­ing coun­ter­parts, unlike empath­ic chim­panzees and adults.

One way or anoth­er, both the­o­ries are sup­port­ed by the fact that watch­ing peo­ple yawn or even lis­ten­ing to the sounds of a yawn acti­vates areas of the brain asso­ci­at­ed with empa­thy, the abil­i­ty to imi­tate oth­er peo­ple’s move­ments, and social behav­ior. Also, when yawn­ing, activ­i­ty was not­ed in the ven­tro­me­di­al pre­frontal cor­tex of the brain, name­ly this area is respon­si­ble for deci­sion mak­ing.

Yawning and sickness

Yawning and sickness

Is yawn­ing a symp­tom of some dis­ease? In the truest sense of the word, no. But some­thing can be said about a yawn­ing per­son.

So, we know that yawn­ing is often observed before sleep and imme­di­ate­ly after it, as well as in a stress­ful sit­u­a­tion. This means that a yawn­ing per­son may be under stress — even if he does not sus­pect it.

In a state of stress, the heart­beat quick­ens, blood pres­sure may rise — yawn­ing does not cause these changes, but it can speak about them. Yawn­ing can also serve as a mark­er of over­work.

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By the way, yawn­ing is one of the symp­toms of an approach­ing vaso­va­gal syn­cope, a con­di­tion asso­ci­at­ed with a sharp expan­sion of blood ves­sels against the back­ground of a slow­ing heart­beat.

Yawn­ing can devel­op in response to drugs con­tain­ing either sub­stances that acti­vate yawn­ing or sub­stances that reg­u­late their pro­duc­tion. For exam­ple, patients with Parkin­son’s dis­ease begin to yawn more often when tak­ing drugs with dopamine. Some anti­de­pres­sants also cause yawn­ing.

Yawn to orgasm

An unusu­al side effect was found in the anti­de­pres­sant clomipramine. Some patients of both sex­es, while tak­ing it, began to expe­ri­ence an orgasm when yawn­ing.

Con­clu­sion

Yawn­ing is still a mys­tery to sci­en­tists. So far, most researchers agree that this is a com­mu­ni­ca­tion mech­a­nism that has some side effects along the way. But any spe­cif­ic func­tion that would be asso­ci­at­ed only with yawn­ing and noth­ing else is still not pos­si­ble to iden­ti­fy. And she cer­tain­ly should be.

By Yraa

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