Is excessive yawning a problem?

Excessive yawning - Healthians
Contributed by – Rachana Arya

Yawning is a normal process but at the same time, it is a mystery which continues to puzzle medics. Excessive yawning could be a signal of serious health hazards. Excessive yawning in both adults as well as children could indicate an underlying problem. Several studies claim that yawning is the body’s effort to cool down the brain. Other theories state that it represents boredom.

Our diaphragm, larynx, thoracic muscles of the chest and the palate of our mouth are all involved in the process of yawning. When we yawn, we open our mouths and breathe in air, filling our lungs. Our eardrums expand and extra oxygen is passed to our brain and other parts of our body. We become alert due to more oxygen and blood supply to our brain. We yawn when we go to bed, when we wake up or when we are bored as in these circumstances our mind becomes less stimulated.

The most common medical ailments related with excessive yawning are anxiety, headache, fatigue, heart problems, shortness of breath, chest pain, tiredness, sleep deprivation, insomnia, sleep apnea and narcolepsy. Some other diseases which can be responsible for excessive yawning include bleeding around the heart, brain tumor, multiple sclerosis, stroke and heart attack.

It should also be noted that we do not always yawn when we are tired. We might run five miles and be completely exhausted but may not yawn. In fact, little supply of oxygen to the brain is not the only deciding factor. As mentioned above, yawning is normal but excessive yawning can be due to certain medical conditions.

Excessive yawning causes some of these problems

Excessive yawning causes - Healthians

Vasovagal reaction

It occurs when some part of our nervous system which controls blood pressure and heart rate is compromised with. This also happens when we are in a nerve-racking condition. The decrease in blood pressure and heart rate restricts the blood from reaching the brain. In such a situation, our body automatically attempts to raise its oxygen consumption by yawning.



There are certain medicines that make us feel lethargic and cause excessive yawning. Such medications might comprise antidepressants, antihistamines and some serotonin uptake inhibitors.


Liver ailments

The latter stages of liver ailments can also cause excessive yawning. Fatigue experienced during this time is also responsible for the same.


Multiple sclerosis

It has been proved by many studies that those suffering from multiple sclerosis also have a tendency to yawn excessively. These people also suffer from thermoregulatory dysfunction and are not able to control their body temperatures. In this case, yawning cools down their body temperatures.



Sleep deprivation and sleep apnea are the most ordinary sleep disorders which can lead to excessive exhaustion resulting in abnormal yawning.


Brain dysfunction

According to research brain tumors might cause excessive yawning. It can also be connected to the lesions in the brain stem. Yawning can also be an outcome of the compression of the pituitary gland.



Excessive yawning can be the major signal of hypoglycemia in diabetics. Hypoglycemia takes place when blood glucose levels fall below 72mg/dL.


Although yawning is a normal reflex but an excess of it for no apparent reason needs a visit to the physician to make sure that nothing abnormal is going on within our body.


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