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Medical Thoughts on why we yawn

  1. Feb 9, 2010 #1
    Ok, so I'm sitting here holding my breath--think for a minute and you'll guess why--and I'm just about at that point where I can't hold it any longer. I'm just about to exhale, but then I have to yawn. Usually, when I'm just about to exhale, I get just a tiny little panic feeling, which I assume is due to the buildup of CO2 in my brain. But just now when I yawned, I held my breath for a good 5-7 seconds longer (due to the yawn itself), and felt no panicky feeling at all.

    I've heard a hypothesis or two about how yawns have something to do with CO2 levels in the brain. I wonder if this lack of panic feeling in spite of going several seconds longer than seemed possible is a clue at all.

    If it's nonsense, then just have a laugh at it. I've lost count of how many times I've held my breath tonight.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 10, 2010 #2
    I just yawned and didn't experience any breath holding. It's more like a slow, extremely deep inhalation/exhalation, with profound, relaxed stretching of the throat and mouth muscles.
  4. Feb 10, 2010 #3
    Right. I was holding my breath already. When I normally yawn and I'm not altered, then yeah, it's like you've described. Just wondering if it's a clue at all as to why we yawn.
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