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What happens to your body when you yawn?

yawning woman


HuffingtonPostThe earliest theory of yawning, laid forth by Hippocrates, suggested that the action sucks in “good” air while pushing out bad air. That isn’t too far off from the theory that dominated the last century, which is that yawning delivers an extra hit of energy-boosting oxygen while helping usher out carbon dioxide. But although commonly accepted, that theory has been contradicted by research, which shows that those who need more oxygen—including exercisers and people with oxygen-depriving medical conditions—don’t yawn more than the average person.

Yawning remains a bit of a mystery, perhaps because—pitted against deadly diseases—it is a low priority for medical research funding, suggests Steven M. Platek, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, Ga., who studies contagious yawning.

Keep reading to learn more about what goes on in your body when you yawn…

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