How to stop yawning at the wrong moment

Odds are you aren’t yawning because you’re bored, or even tired – though try telling that to your appalled colleagues. It’s more likely that your brain is trying to cool off, says professor of psychology Dr Gordon Gallup.

During periods of intense activity, that CPU in your skull starts heating up, and while a real computer uses a fan to keep from overheating, your body uses a yawn. Inhaling a wave of fresh air cools the blood in your lungs and, subsequently, your brain.

So if you feel like you’re about to show your molars at a meeting, breathe in deeply through your nose. “This cools the capillaries in the interior of the nose, and that sends cool blood directly to the brain,” Gallup says. “One deep inhalation is usually enough to stifle a yawn.”