Who doesn’t yawn? You might find yourself yawning on waking up, at work or before you go to bed. Very rightly, people associate yawning with exhaustion and boredom. Yawning is actually very beneficial for health – it cools the brain, improves blood circulation, and relieves stress. But, if you find yourself yawning often, it might not be so innocuous. It could signify some underlying health complication.
What exactly is Excessive Yawning?
Medically speaking, yawning more than once a minute, is excessive yawning. It is a response to a vasovagal reaction, which some medical conditions trigger. The vagus nerve extends from the brain to the abdomen through the throat. Increased activity of this nerve causes frequent yawning.
And it is these medical conditions that your frequent yawning could be indicating –
1. Sleep Disorders –
If you are not getting enough sleep at night, it could be because you have contracted a sleep disorder. It could be insomnia, sleep apnoea, restless leg syndrome, parasomnia, circadian rhythm disorders etc. All of these disorders cause disruption of sleep. Over time, not getting quality sleep will result in exhaustion and weariness, which will manifest as many yawns.
2. Anxiety –
Everybody is familiar with anxiety. Higher degrees of worrying can prompt yawning. It has an effect on your respiratory system, your heart and blood pressure. And all of this manifest as incessant yawning.
3. Reaction to Medicines –
Sometimes medicines you take could make you yawn, especially if these medications cause exhaustion and drowsiness. Here are some drugs that could be the culprits-
- Allergy drugs
- Pain medication
4. Heart Problems –
Sometimes people yawn a lot in the days leading up to a heart attack. Yawning could also be warning you about bleeding around the heart. If you notice other signs like breathlessness, giddiness, nausea, consult a doctor right away.
5. Stroke –
A brain stroke may trigger excessive yawning in an attempt to drag down both the brain and the body’s temperature. It helps the brain to deal with the injury caused by the stroke.
6. Epilepsy –
Epilepsy or seizures begin in the brain. And just like after a stroke, the brain makes you yawn to mellow the harmful effects of seizures. Or you might be yawning because your energy levels have dipped after an attack.
Do not wave excessive yawning off as a minor annoyance. Consult a doctor who will change your medication or recommend diagnostic tests that will reveal if an illness is triggering your fits of yawning. Take action before it is too late.