After the turkey, the mashed potatoes, the gravy, the cranberry chutney, and the pie, one person at your Thanksgiving gathering will make the inaugural yawn. Will it be you? Will you set the trend or merely be a follower?
Once the yawning commences, someone will blame the tryptophan in the turkey. Another will acknowledge all the hard work that went into preparing the meal. Whatever the cause, it really doesn’t matter. Once one person yawns, it’s hard to stop.
Between 40 and 60 percent of the population find yawning contagious. Yawn. Read the word three times in a row, and you’ll be tempted to do it. If you see or hear someone else yawning, it becomes all the more difficult to resist.
According to the BBC, yawning is an involuntary action we start performing while still in the womb. Most animals on the planet do it–including snakes and fish. Rather than getting you ready for sleep, some scientists believe the the purpose of yawning is to cool the brain so it operates more efficiently and keeps you awake. This helps us stay alert and aware of any potential danger (second helpings, anyone?). Another theory suggests humans use yawning to coordinate sleeping times (nap, anyone?)
Theories abound, but no one knows for sure why yawning is contagious. But don’t lose sleep over it.
This Thanksgiving go ahead and yawn big. Yawn wide. Then, enjoy a long nap!
Photo from here.