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Health Information For Kids
Everybody yawns — from unborn babies to the oldest great-grandparent. Animals do it, too. But why, exactly, do people and animals yawn? No one knows for sure. But there are many theories (ideas) about why people yawn.
One is that when we are bored or tired, we just don’t breathe as deeply as we usually do. As this theory goes, our bodies take in less oxygen because our breathing has slowed. Therefore, yawning helps us bring more oxygen into the blood and move more carbon dioxide out of the blood.
Yawning, then, would be an involuntary reflex (something we can’t really control) to help us control our oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. Sounds good, but other studies have shown that breathing more oxygen does not decrease yawning. Likewise, breathing more carbon dioxide does not increase yawning. Hmmm. Now what?
Another theory is that yawning stretches the lungs and lung tissue. Stretching and yawning may be a way to flex muscles and joints, increase heart rate, and feel more awake.
Other people believe that yawning is a protective reflex to redistribute the oil-like substance called surfactant (say: sur-FAK-tint) that helps keep lungs lubricated inside and keeps them from collapsing. So, if we didn’t yawn, according to this theory, taking a deep breath would become harder and harder — and that would not be good!
But there is one idea about yawning that everyone knows to be true. It seems contagious. If you yawn in class, you’ll probably notice a few other people will start yawning, too. Even thinking about yawning can get you yawning. How many times have you yawned while reading this article? We hope not many!
What does it mean when your eyes water? It’s not the same as crying – or is it?
You may have heard the old joke: If your nose is running and your feet smell, you must be upside down! But did you ever wonder why your nose runs?
Your hard-working feet sometimes start stinking. Find out why in this article for kids.
A burp – sometimes also called a belch – is nothing but gas. Find out more about burping and what to do if it happens to you in this article for kids.
Sleep is vital for giving your body a rest and allowing it to prepare for the next day. This article about sleep will teach you why your brain needs to spend time in bed getting zzzz’s!
If you just sneezed, something was probably irritating or tickling the inside of your nose. Learn more about why you sneeze in this article for kids.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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