Breathe through your nose
Your own experience has taught you that our yawns signal when we’re tired or bored, says Robert R. Provine, PhD, neuroscientist and professor of psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and author of Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccupping, and Beyond. As such, you don’t want your yawn to send the friend you’re chatting with or coworker who’s giving a speech that they’re boring. To stifle a yawn, you can try to inhale through your nose. “A yawn involves a long inhalation and short exhalation with gaping jaws,” explains Provine. If you seal your lips, you can’t go through the full motions of a yawn. Unfortunately, it’s only a temporary fix. You will yawn, so perhaps take a minute to excuse yourself. Don’t miss these medical reasons you’re tired all the time.
Get a little chilly. In one study in Physiology & Behavior in 2019, people who placed a 40-degree F cold pack on their neck yawned three times less frequently compared to those who wore a heating pad (115 degrees F). One theory is that yawns serve to cool the brain; chill your neck and you may decrease your noggin temp, too. But if you’re constantly chilly, these medical reasons could explain why you’re cold.
Get an audience
One thing Provine learned during his studies on yawns? Recording others stops them from yawning. “There’s a social inhibition effect. People looking at you will inhibit yawning,” he says. See if it works for you–ask a friend or two to watch you as you try to yawn or turn your iPhone camera on yourself and record the action. It’s worth a shot when you’re really trying to stop yourself from yawning. Now that we’re on the topic, you may want to know if you need to cover your laptop camera.