Frontiers for Young Minds
Although we yawn each and every day, most people have little understanding of why we do it. In fact, the function of yawning has remained mysterious for centuries, even among scientists, and this has only changed quite recently. Contrary to what people have believed for a long time, it is now understood that yawns have nothing to do with breathing or the amount of oxygen we are taking in. Instead, new and growing research has revealed that yawns serve as a brain cooling mechanism. This new perspective on yawning as a response to elevated brain temperature has transformed our understanding of this commonly overlooked and misinterpreted behavior. This information might be useful for treating and diagnosing medical conditions that are accompanied by frequent yawning and for monitoring and improving our brain’s performance throughout the day.
Gallup, Andrew C. and Omar T. Eldakar. 2017. "Yawns Are Cool." Frontiers for Young Minds 5, (52): 1-8. doi:10.3389/frym.2017.00052.