Ever wonder why you yawn? Of course when you are sleepy, and maybe when you first wake up? What about when you are feeling stressed or anxious? Researchers at the State University of New York say there may be other reasons too!

Mammals yawn and so do many other animals: birds, reptiles, and fish. Some fish yawn in response to aggressive behavior of other fish while monkeys yawn when they feel anxiety. Researchers believe that yawning related to anxiety could be a coping mechanism to bring on a calming effect.

Other effects of yawning include lowering brain temperature. That’s right. Rats who yawned showed almost a degree difference in brain temperature. Getting to warm could trigger a body signal that the brain needs to cool down. How does that work? The researchers believe that when we yawn, our open mouths increase circulation, and at the same time the air cools the arteries in the brain.

Read about the effect of cortisol, the stress hormone, in yawning at www.wired.com/2015/06/big-question-yawn-im-nervous-stressed/

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