Why Yawn
Yawnology .....more YAWNOLOGY   /   Y GO LON WAY
Why yawn? ...Why do we yawn?  Yawning cleans the brain !  The Nolman Valve !   updated March 4, 2001
-Bookmark this-      Yawning is a divine inspiration.   says Old brain ! Yawn is Life breath, we yawn before we are born!

Most theories have to do with either oxygen uptake or getting rid of carbon dioxide. Two things happen when we yawn, we open our jaw wide and we take a deep breath.

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At the deepest part of the breath when the lungs have the greatest force, the lungs fill up the ribcage, then lift the ribs.The ribs lift the spine and the force is transferred from the top of the spine to a bone of the skull called the occipital bone. The occipital bone forms most of the seat for the brain, and it is pushed upward.

At the same moment the fully expanded lungs push away from the ribs and the bronchi are forced apart or away from each other. The bronchi are attached to the bronchi tubes causing them to pull down on the trachea as it all expands.

The trachea pulls down on the thyroid. The thyroid is attached to the hyoid bone by the thyrohyoid membrane, which pulls evenly on the hyoid bone.  The hyoid bone, which is being pulled downward, is attached to the skull by ligaments and muscle at two points called the styloid process of the temporal bones.

* To view from the trachea to the hyoid bone

Click Here

The two temporal bones are on each side of the occipital bone. The styloid processes are the two thorn-like protrusions where the muscles and ligaments attach from the hyoid bone to the temporal bones.
While the temporal bones are being pulled downward on each side of the occipital bone, the occipital bone is being pushed up between them.

* To see the occipital bone (middle) with the styloid process of the temporal bones on each side
 Click here

* To see the occipital bone in white with the styloid processes (thorn-like) on each side of it .

Click here

This action puts pressure on the brain.

I call this the Nolman Valve theory or the No 1 man valve theory.


When deeply inhaling the bones of the spine rise pushing upward on the bottom of the skull (the occipital bone).
At the same time the entire air-passageway expands pulling downward on the bottom of the skull at two points!
(styloid process of the temporal bones).
I call this the Nolman valve.


The jaw, the tongue, and the hyoid bone together with many muscles work to pull down on the temporal bones during deep inspiration with the jaw opened wide.

* To see one pair of muscles called the stylohyoid connecting the styloid process to the hyoid bone this pic also shows the two (2) temporal bones and styloid processes with the occipital bone between them

 Click here

There are many muscles involved in this including the sternohyoid, the omohyoid, the sternothyroid, the thyrohyoid, the stylohyoid, the digastric, the mylohyoid, and the geniohyoid.

* For more information on these muscles Click here

The occipital bone and the spine are like a piston pushing up between the temporal bones that are being pulled downward.
The pressure that is put on the brain within the skull has the affect of accelerating the normal cerebrospinal fluid absorption process.

Cerebrospinal fluid is created by the choroid plexus found in the ventricles of the brain. Cerebrospinal fluid or CSF is a clear liquid that is believed to protect the brain from shock and to nourish the brain and remove brain waste products. CSF flows from the ventricles and surrounds the brain and spinal cord. CSF is known to be absorbed by the arachnoid villi / venous sinuses method. We produce about a pint of cerebrospinal fluid per day but we only have the capacity to hold about one fourth of that, so our cerebrospinal fluid is replaced several times per day during normal circulation.

* To see the 4 (four) ventricles of the brain Click here

The flow of the CSF has much to do with the intercranial pressure, which is different from the blood pressure of the body.
When yawning puts pressure on the brain, the CSF is forced through its absorption pathways at an accelerated rate taking brain waste products with it.

For more information on CSF circulationClick here

* For more information on the function of CSF Click here
Yawning cleans the brain!

Studies have shown that people with brain lesions, tumors and certain kinds of epilepsy often yawn excessively, while schizophrenics yawn very little. I think that it may be possible that brain lesions, tumors and certain kinds of epilepsy cause an increase in the cerebrospinal fluid pressure by obstructing csf pathways so there is a need to yawn more often.

I found it interesting that people with schizophrenia yawn very little. It has been documented that people with schizophrenia have enlarged ventricles in their brains indicating that there may be a greater pressure or an excess of CSF within the ventricles.

People with schizophrenia are said to have an excess of neurotransmitters in their brains. CSF nourishes the neurons that produce neurotransmitters so perhaps an excess of neurotransmitters can cause an excess of CSF to feed the neurons that produce the neurotransmitters, (or perhaps when the CSF gets to briny or concentrated with neurotransmitters and it produces excess CSF in order to maintain or dilute the CSF to a lower percentage of brain chemicals per volume of CSF).

The greater pressure of the CSF upon the neurons could also cause the neurons to produce excess neurotransmitters by putting pressure on the axons so that a greater ion exchange takes place and the neurons produce an excess of neurotransmitters.

* To view axon and neurotransmitters Click here

This would make schizophrenia an INCREMENTING CYCLE in that excess neurotransmitters can cause excess CSF and excess CSF can cause excess neurotransmitters.

Yawning breaks the INCREMENTING CYCLE of schizophrenia by reducing the CSF pressure and cleaning the brain of excess neurotransmitters and various other things.
Yawning once won't have long lasting affects because the cerebrospinal fluid is replaced several times a day so it is not a complete cure but yawning on a regular basis may give people with schizophrenia more control over their symptoms.

I found little information as to why our eyes water when we yawn, the only thing I found said that when you yawn you essentially contract a lot of facial muscles. These contracting facial muscles squeeze your tear glands and your nasolacrimal duct forcing tears out into your eye. And that is why you "cry" when you yawn. Another said that it was just a coincidence of where are glands and muscles are. There is more involved than only the muscles and the lachrymal or (tear) gland.The more successful the yawn the more the eyes water.

When the yawn compresses the brain and accelerates the drainage of the cerebrospinal fluid, the cerebrospinal fluid drains any way that it can, not just through the known arachnoid villi / venous sinuses method.

There is evidence for lymphatic drainage of interstitial fluid/CSF in a variety of animal species (rat, rabbit, cat etc.) There is indeed evidence that a perineural route via spinal nerve roots as well as certain cranial nerves (primarily olfactory, but also optic, trigeminal, acoustic) to extracranial tissue spaces exist. Similarly, a route via the perivascular spaces has also been shown to exist.

In man, evidence is not as easily obtained for obvious reasons, and the lymphatic route of drainage, is overshadowed by the known high volume drainage pathway involving the arachnoid villi/venous sinuses.

I don't think that a tear is forced by the face muscles contracting to squeeze your lachrymal (tear) glands, but rather from the pressure that comes from within the skull.

I think that the eyes water because the cerebrospinal fluid escapes from the cranial nerves and enters the lacrimal system, causing the eyes to water. So you can tell if you have a good, brain-cleaning yawn by how much your eyes water during a yawn.

I think that the cerebrospinal fluid also enters the lymphatic system at the same time. Sometimes the muscles in the area of the upper chest will quiver.
The lymphatic system has no pump of its own it relies on the massaging action of muscles to move lymph through its system. If yawning causes cerebrospinal fluid to enter the lymphatic system, it would make sense that the quivering of the upper chest muscles would help the lymphatic system to process the sudden flow of the cerebrospinal fluid.

* To view the human lymphatic system  Click here

Your lymphatic system is a large component your immune system.
CSF enters the lymphatic system as interstitial fluid, which has been pressured out of the cerebrospinal fluid system via the perineural route of cranial nerve roots to extracranial tissue spaces.

* To view the 7th cranial nerve (facial nerve) and the lymphatics of the head   Click here

* For detailed information (no pics) on the lymphatics of the head and neck and vast drainage via the deep cervical lymph nodes Click here and   Click here

When we yawn, cerebrospinal fluid is pressured it escapes the brain every way that it can. Some of it finds its way to the lachrymal system and shows up in the form of a tear. Some of it enters the lymphatic system and causes the chest muscles to quiver, while most of it goes through the known, high volume drainage pathway, which involves the arachnoid villi / venous sinuses.

I think that yawning cleans the brain. This would explain why fetuses have been observed yawning in the womb.

*To see a pic of a fetus yawning in the womb

fetal yawn movie...replay a few times

The yawning fetus. 3D-Video clip of a fetus in a yawning gesture. Click here to view
          the .mov (Quicktime) file (559K). Clip courtesy of Dr. Bernard Benoit in his early days of
                                     Video 3D (4D) research.

Yawning is likely far from trivial, it may help us to understand many aspects of physical well being that we don't understand now.
If yawning has the effect of reducing the cerebrospinal fluid pressure within the central nervous system, then it may also relieve the symptoms of panic disorder. It may also help us to understand better the relationship between brain cancers and lymphoma or cancers of the lymphatic system. Hydrocephalus, if yawning can reduce the pressure of the cerebrospinal fluid then yawning could cause (spontaneous remission).

Aside from being influential in the regulation of the cerebrospinal fluid pressure, the yawn works in a similar way to balance the air pressure, causing our ears to "pop" when yawning on an airplane. The eustachian tube assures that air pressure inside and outside the middle ear remains identical. It normally is closed, but opens when ever a person yawns or swallows to protect the delicate parts of the ear from abrupt changes in the air pressure. If the two air pressures are different, the eardrum will not respond correctly to the pressure fluctuations of sound waves.

Although people often yawn at night before going to bed, studies have shown people yawn most within the first hour of waking up.
Yawning is often a part of stretching and is considered to be a stretch of the face.

 Why is Yawning Contagious 
Why Yawning is Contagious?

Not all yawns are created equal, you will know a good yawn as it usually makes the eyes water a little bit with perhaps a tear, or causes the upper muscles of the chest to quiver.

Deep breathing, a big sigh, and laughter all help the same way as yawning does, so do these things every day, make your systems work better for you.

A final note on not yawning.

None of the things I have said about yawning can happen if the jaw is closed, because the mandible locks tightly against the temporal bone. So if you don't want to yawn while reading about all of this, close your teeth together.

For more information and ongoing discussion on Why Do We Yawn  Click here this will take you to the mgh forums the forums are free for all to read but to reply to a post you must register to be a member which is also free.

Eric Schniter wrote his Masters Thesis Title: THE EVOLUTION OF YAWNING: WHY DO WE YAWN AND
                          WHY IS IT CONTAGIOUS?
To Download Eric's PDF file  PDF Thesis of Eric Schniter Click here

Old brain says: This Theory Will Change The Way We Understand Neurological Order.

I have not looked at all neurological conditions, but the more I look at I find myself saying, this could help us to better understand this disorder. In some way or another, although I am not a doctor, I have been able to relate this theory to causes and progressions that are poorly understood without this knowledge.

Proving this theory could help a lot of people, so thats what I'm trying to do. Here is a disorder that may be more common than what has been diagnosed, because it can be a long road to determine the actual problem. The cause is pretty much unknown as is the progression...(this is only one of many)

Arnold Chiari Malformations:

What is it?
Chiari Type I malformation.
Old brain looks at Arnold Chiari Malformations

  Well how do we prove this theory (if its correct).........How can I make it a medical fact rather than a theory?
I'm not a doctor, or professional,  I may be an expert in this area, but I have no credentials, no access to fancy testing equipment. There are many ways to test various parts of this theory, I try to tell others that may be able to prove or disprove this theory. There is not a lot of people lining up with answers. So I've been looking for a few answers myself. I try to present this in a way that it can be understood by most, professionals and nonprofessionals, its complicated, there is no doubt that we are talking about the core of our being.

So for those professionals out there that would like to prove it and make a movie of it in action......and I'm pretty sure it can be done with todays technology.......I'd sure love to see it in action......something like this......
I got this image from the specialists here  Click for chamcousa

This is motion MRI.
Another method that I think may reveal a great deal and is not invasive is a real-time ultrasonics movie.

          Standardized A-scan orbital ultrasonography allows for precise measurement of the optic nerve
          sheath diameter.
          If this diameter is noted to be increased in primary gaze and diminishes by 25% in eccentric
          gaze (30 degree test) then increased subarachnoid fluid surrounding the optic nerve is
          presumed to be present. This finding is consistent with papilledema if it is bilateral.
          The drawback of this noninvasive technique is that it requires a highly skilled clinician in order to
          obtain reproducible results.

 ...manometers can measure CSF pressure...and measuring the diameter of the optic nerve may indicate changes in the CSF pressure, there are ways to show parts of it in action...here is one test that doesn't cost money to try...

The Breathing Test

What I can do though is to give you a strong indication that what I am talking about is not only a divine inspiration
but also  anatomically  phenominal. I can teach you how to hear you own CSF moving... How you  can hear the Nolman valve in action.

Just Click on the flaming text

Well I guess thats it for the 2000 edition of the Nolman valve how it works and why its important. If its true there will be many many developments in defining neurological order and practical applications to promote neurological order.
I have worked on this for  years  (I'm slow) I have been helped by many people along the way, it took a lot of help to get this far. I would like to thank each and every one of you.  I'm sure that some of you don't even know that you have helped but did so in a small or a large way.
These are some of the people I would like to thank  Thank- you click here

Thank you all.
I have tried to prove this theory but, I have not been able to.
So rather than prove it, I just want to tell people about it,
 to explain the concepts that have evaded medical science throughout the course of medical history.

 I would like to keep my information free and share it with you so that it can be seen quite easily and new developments or updates can also be seen by all for no cost.

Brian Nolman

The difficult will be done immediately the impossible will take longer.

Eric Schniter's Evolutionary approaches to Yawning

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 I have found several other sites on yawning from various sources including doctors so I thought I'd list them here for convenience.

Yawnology in french- Le Baillement by Olivier Walusinski  click here
Is yawning contagious? Why do we yawn? click here
Re: Why do animals yawn?  click here
Why do we yawn? !   Questions that make you go "hmmmm?" click here
Why do people yawn? Are yawns contagious? click here
Why do we yawn? Dr. Barry Make  click here
Yawning  click here
Why do we yawn when someone else yawns? click here
Yawning Is Contagious  click here
Dear Dr. Becky The Story Behind Yawning click here
What is the mechanism associated with why yawning is contagious? click here
Subject: What is the reason for yawning? click here
Re: Why is yawning contagious  click here
'Sneezing' & 'Yawning' Good & Evil? click here
Yawning bear  click here
Can Watching Someone Yawn Make You Yawn? click here
Re: Why do people yawn and is yawning contagious click here
One Good Yawn Deserves Another  click here
Yawning Tears  click here
Science Q and A Yawning  click here
Study shows no reason for adults, kids to yawn click here
Why Do We Yawn and Why Does Everyone Seem to Do it at the Same Time? click here
New theory injects a wake-up call into yawning click here
A word on yawning  click here
Why does one's eyes water when one yawns? click here
What causes yawning and why might yawns be "contagious" click here
Yawning, excessive  click here
Attacks Of Yawning: What Does It Mean? click here
Why Do I Yawn Even When I'm Not Tired? click here
Yawns, hiccups help fetal airway development click here

Well that is about it ...........if you find some more links or have an interesting tale on yawning please feel free to contact me through the forum or email.

By BrianNolman   "Old brain" briannolman@yahoo.com

Last update March 4 , 2001

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