9 Fast Facts About Yawning – Molecule

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9 Fast Facts About Yawning

News | April 22, 2018

We don’t only yawn when we are tired - In fact, over the years, there have been many theories which have pointed to various reasons why people yawn. Here are 9 facts about yawning that definitely won't put you to sleep:

  • 1. The average yawn lasts approximately 6 seconds...


    Did you know? During those six seconds of yawning, your heart rate significantly increases! 

  • 2. People tend to yawn more when they are bored...

  • According to a small study of college students performed in 1986, participants yawned more when shown a pattern of colors than when shown a 30-minute rock video.

  • 3. Modern research suggests that yawns are to cool down the brain...

  • According to a recent report by National Geographic, an open-mouthed yawn causes sinus walls “to expand and contract like a bellows, pumping air onto the brain, which lowers its temperature.”

  • 4. People are more likely to yawn during the winter...

  • According to a Healthy Living report, your likelihood of yawning increases when the outside air is cooler. In the summer, yawns won’t play as significant of a role, as they are less likely to bring cold air into the body.

  • 5. It’s true! Yawning totally is contagious!

  • Research suggests, approximately 50% of people shown videos of yawning also begin yawning. Even the mere thought of yawning can cause you to yawn!

  • 6. But you can’t catch a yawn from just anyone…


  • A 2012 study uncovered that yawns are most contagious among your closest friends. HuffPost Science reported, “Researchers discovered that the closer you are to someone genetically or emotionally, the more likely it is that you’ll ‘catch’ their yawn.”

  • 7. Humans aren’t the only ones at risk... 

  • Yawns are contagious for animals too! In fact, the catching nature of yawns has been observed between chimpanzees, baboons, and macaques. Additionally, dogs can start to yawn even after just hearing their owners let one yawn loose!

  • 8. Yawning might be more of a social phenomenon than a physiological phenomenon...

  • A number of studies have suggested that the catching nature of yawning could be tied to empathy. This relationship could help explain why people yawn even when we’re not tired!

  • 9. Even unborn babies yawn!

  • While we don’t exactly know why, it has been proven that fetuses developing in the womb yawn too… (Wonder if they “caught it from their mama”)