Yawning involves opening the mouth involuntarily with a prolonged, deep inhalation of air, as from drowsiness or weariness.
Yawning is a normal response to fatigue and drowsiness, but excessive yawning can be caused by a vasovagal reaction and may indicate a heart problem.
Normal yawning may be induced when the brain or lungs are not getting enough oxygen (or when someone else yawns).
- Drowsiness or weariness
- Disorders associated with excessive daytime sleepiness
- Vasovagal reaction o Heart attack o Aortic dissection
Follow prescribed treatment for dealing with the underlying cause.
Call your health care provider if
- There is any unexplained and excessive yawning.
- The yawning is associated with excessive daytime sleepiness.
What to expect at your health care provider’s office
The health care provider will obtain your medical history and will perform a physical examination.
Medical history questions documenting excessive yawning in detail may include the following:
- Time pattern o When did the excessive yawning begin? o How many yawns per hour or day? o Is the yawning consistent throughout the day? o Is it worse in the morning, after lunch, or during exercise? o Is it worse in certain areas or certain rooms?
- Does yawning interfere with normal activities?
- Aggravating factors o Is the increased yawning related to amount of sleep received? o Is it related to use of medications? o Is it related to activity level? o Is it related to boredom?
- Relieving factors o What helps it? o Does rest help? o Does breathing deeply help?
- Other o What other symptoms are also present? o What medications are being taken?
Diagnostic tests that may be performed may include sleep studies.
by Janet G. Derge, M.D.
All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.