I knew it, and it’s now proven: A yawn is actually a compliment.
Yawning may appear the height of rudeness, but in fact your body is desperately trying to keep you awake, according to research from the US.
The common wisdom is that people yawn because they need oxygen, but the researchers at the University of Albany in New York said their experiments showed that raising or lowering oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood did not produce that reaction.
Their evidence suggested instead that drawing in air helps cool the brain and helps it work more effectively.
Yawning therefore delays sleep rather than promotes it.
The desire to yawn when others do so may also be a mechanism to help a group stay alert in the face of danger.
So the next time you are telling a story and a listener yawns there is no need to be offended – yawning, a physiological mechanism designed to maintain attention, turns out to be a compliment.
Boy, how I would like to enlighten all my school teachers!