Yawning vs Sighing: Difference and Comparison

There are various reflexive and non-reflexive actions of human bodies that we experience in our daily life.

While we never really look closely at them or learn too much about them, they regulate many processes inside our body and indicate many human practicalities. Two such actions are yawning and sighing.

Key Takeaways

  1. Yawning is an involuntary reflex involving a deep inhalation and stretching of the jaw and face muscles.
  2. Sighing is a spontaneous, deep breath that resets the respiratory system and alleviates stress.
  3. Both yawning and sighing help regulate the body’s oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.

Yawning vs Sighing

Yawning is a reflex action involving opening one’s mouth wide and inhaling deeply due to tiredness or boredom. Sighing is a deeper-than-usual breath that is released with an audible sound, is done to express relief or boredom, is not a reflex action, and is under voluntary control.

Yawning vs Sighing

Yawning is a body’s reflex that includes inhaling of air and stretching of eardrums, followed by relaxation by exhaling of breath and a few teardrops sometimes.

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It is a common process in almost all the organisms that sleep and is a form of paralinguistic respiration.

Sighing refers to the single exhalation of air out of noise or mouth to communicate some specific emotions.

Unlike yawning, sighing is only sometimes a body’s reflex and not always a self-controlled habitual action. Like yawning, sighing is also a form of paralinguistic respiration.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonYawningSighing
DefinitionInhaling and exhaling of air as communication.Sudden exhalation of air.
NounYawn.Sigh.
CausesIt is caused by restlessness.It is caused by emotions or conditions.
DependencyNervous System.Respiratory System.
Health ConditionIt is rarely related to health conditions.It can be a sign of a medical condition.

What is Yawning?

Yawning is a body’s reflex that includes inhaling of air and stretching of eardrums, followed by relaxation by exhaling of breath and a few teardrops sometimes.

It is a common process in almost all the organisms that sleep and is a form of paralinguistic respiration. Yawning most often occurs before sleeping, but it can also occur afterward. According to experts, yawning is considered contagious.

There can be many causes of yawning, including tiredness, lethargy, sleepiness, boredom, hunger, etc. Furthermore, it can also be caused by the perception that someone else is visibly yawning in front of someone.

In scientific terms, yawning is caused when the level of carbon dioxide in the body increases, and the body responds by inhaling and exhaling air.

While yawning, a specific muscle named the tensor tympani in the ear starts contracting. This creates a rumbling noise seemed to be perceived from the head.

Over the years, many differentiable studies and theories have attempted to explain the causes of yawning in beings.

However, there is little scientific agreement on any one of them being the primary cause. Only the actions observed practically tell the causes of yawning clearly.

yawning

What is Sighing?

Sighing refers to the single exhalation of air out of noise or mouth to communicate some specific emotions. Unlike yawning, sighing is only sometimes a body’s reflex and not always a self-controlled habitual action.

Scientifically, sighing can help prevent the reduction of air exchange that takes place in the lungs. Since sighing is an elongated breath, it reinflates the lungs with fresh air.

There are various instances in which a person sighs, including positive and negative emotions. From positive emotions, a sigh arises following a sense of relief in response to avoiding or ending a negative situation.

On the other hand, from negative emotions, a sigh may arise from a feeling of dismay, dissatisfaction, futility, etc.

Furthermore, studies suggest that sighing is also related to conditions of unbalanced emotional stability, such as anxiety, depression, stress, etc.

Sighing may also be a sign of an underlying health condition. Excessive sighing can also occur along with some respiratory conditions, including Asthma, COPD, etc. Such situations need a professional diagnosis for treatment.

Not only in human beings but sighing can also be observed in other beings, including dogs, horses, cats, etc., following identical causes.

Main Differences Between Yawning and Sighing

  1. Yawning is a contagious activity, whereas sighing is not.
  2. Yawning is mostly unrelated to serious health conditions, whereas sighing can be a sign of a life-threatening health condition.
  3. Yawning is largely dependent on the body’s nervous system, whereas sighing is dependent on the respiratory system.
  4. Yawning is mostly caused by sleepiness or restlessness, whereas sighing is a result of positive and negative emotions.
  5. Yawning is a body’s reflex, whereas sighing is mostly a habitual response.
Difference Between Yawning and Sighing
References
  1. https://www.cell.com/current-biology/pdf/S0960-9822(16)31055-7.pdf
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