Did a Teacher Ever Scold You for Yawning in Class?

By Anupum Pant

Background

I always found school interesting. I wasn’t one of those kids who felt bored and sleepy during the class. And yet, during the classes, I yawned often. I remember being sent out of the class a couple of times because I had yawned. This happened again, and again at college. However, lecturers never cared to send me out in college. And then there were no more classes.

Then, when I started working, at a meeting one day, a friend yawned in a board room where the head of the company was present. The head saw this happen. Being a fresher, the guy got scolded very badly by the head. I felt sad for him. I knew, he wasn’t really sleepy when he yawned; clearly he wasn’t bored too. There could have been a different reason for it. The head should have known this.

Yawning is universally considered as a sign of sleepiness or boredom. I however, am pretty sure that a yawn doesn’t necessarily comes when someone is bored or sleepy. I do have a theory to back my belief that I discuss below. Also, yawning has a lot to do with empathy too. But that is not what I’m discussing today. To educate yourself about the empathy side of it, you could watch the following video.

No one knows for sure why we yawn. In addition to that there might be several different reasons that could explain why we yawn. Like a couple of reasons that explain why we sleep (may be there are more). Most definitely, it isn’t a single reason.

A study shows that yawning could be the body’s way of cooling down the brain and it makes perfect sense to me!

The Study

Scientists from the Princeton University say that people yawn more during the winters. That is because during the winter the air outside is colder and the body knows that. So, it makes us yawn to take in the cold air to cool the brain by exchanging heat.

There’s also this other explanation which breaks down the process of yawning into two parts – 1. stretching of your jaw muscles and 2. air entering your mouth after you do that.

When you stretch the jaw muscles in the first step, blood flow increases in your face, brain and sinus area. Now the cool air enters and cools down the blood vessels in the nasal cavity and sinus area. These blood vessels in turn cool the blood and circulate cooler blood to your brain, to cool it down.

Teacher’s theory

Now, it’s a well-known human rhythm that bodies get heated up just before we fall asleep. As a result, we yawn more. So, teachers were not completely wrong. However, sleep is not the direct reason. The reason we yawn is because the brain gets heated up, and it may as well get heated up due to other reasons; not always due to sleepiness or tiredness. Plus the yawn tries to correct the heated-sleepy-brain by circulating cooler blood.

The body does this to cool down the over-heated brain – which obviously gets heated due to extra information processing – like a computer processor. Why would the brain heat up when I’m not actively processing information better. So, yawning doesn’t mean I’m bored, or I’m not actively listening to the teacher when they’re speaking. Teachers need to know this.

Even if yawning is a sign of boredom to some extent. A yawn actually helps you cool down and helps you to process information better. So, teachers should be happy when you yawn in their class. You are trying to be a better listener than people who aren’t yawning in the class!

Hit like if you learnt something interesting today.

Sundays Are The Worst – Sunday Neurosis

By Anupum Pant

Are Mondays really that bad?

It’s fair to assume that readers read through my website when they find “free time”. And assuming it is their free time, I can also assume that they are usually happy during those times. So, is it safe to assume that Sundays are days when I can expect most people to read these articles? Is Sunday the best?

Logically, the most amount of free and happy time a working person could have, should be on Sundays. However, AweSci experiences the least amount of traffic on Sundays (and Saturdays).

People think that Mondays are sad because on Mondays they need to go and toil at the workplace after a nice long break. According to most surveys, Mondays and Tuesdays are the most “blue days” of the week. And still, traffic on this website gushes during these weekdays. So, how do people find enough free time to go through a website that publishes long texts filled with trivia, on tedious Mondays? Is Monday really the worst day of the week? Deriving happiness from visitor metrics, it certainly isn’t a bad day for me. What do you think?

Sunday Neurosis

Sundays are actually worse. In a huge survey that included 34,000  people, well-educated people reported that they had lower life satisfaction values on weekends. On the other hand, people who were less qualified reported that there wasn’t a much difference in their life satisfaction level when compared with a weekday.

There may be a hundred ways to explain why Sundays are bad for the well-educated masses, but I prefer to explain it with a term coined decades ago by an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl. The term was “Sunday Neurosis“. According to him:

Sunday Neurosis refers to a form of anxiety resulting from an awareness in some people of the emptiness of their lives once the working week is over.

According to him, Sundays are the days when educated people find enough time to introspect about how empty and meaningless their lives are. Such complex thought patterns aren’t commonly seen among the less educated masses.

As a result, on Sundays, these people tend to get involved in short-term compensatory behaviours like avoiding mentally taxing activities, bingeing on food and drink, overworking, and overspending etc. Which of course could land them into big trouble in the long-term – like depression.

You, the people who come here to read science are most definitely well qualified people. So, please don’t trouble yourself on Sundays. On Sundays well-educated working individuals should remind themselves that being anxious about things is going to take them nowhere. Worrying is for Mondays.

So the next time whoever tells you, Mondays are the worst, ask them to read this. And tell them, they think Mondays are the worst because they probably aren’t very well-educated.

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An Extremely Rare and Bizarre Disorder – Alien Hand Syndrome

By Anupum Pant

Like lakes, bizarre and rare disorders also fascinate me. Of course I would never want to experience one of these, but it’s good to know about them. Besides the horrible, body-turning-into-stone disorder, Alien hand syndrome is one of the most bizarre disorders I’ve heard of.

If someone has the Alien hand syndrome, they’d have a hand that would move around and do stuff on its own without the person even being aware about it. And I’m not talking about those involuntary muscular movements you have once in a while. In this, the hand moves as if it can think for itself. It moves as if it’s being moved by “someone else”. Some times, it becomes necessary to use the other hand to stop it!

Imagine your left hand grabbing an object and you just can’t let it go.

It happens when the two hemispheres of the brain get separated either surgically or by accident or disease. In that case, the left and right hemispheres are unable to move information between them.

It isn’t just rare and bizarre, it’s extremely scary too. Imagine if your left hand waking up at night to murder its own host. At night, it’d like sleeping with a stranger. In fact, it’d be like living with a creepy stranger all the time. Who would want that!

Like the following video puts it, it seems as if there is another intelligence at work here, the one which is not known to the patient.

[Wikipedia page]

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