Yawning - excessive

Alternative names 
Excessive yawning

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).

Common Causes

  • Drowsiness or weariness  
  • Disorders associated with excessive daytime sleepiness  
  • Vasovagal reaction       o Heart attack       o Aortic dissection

Home Care
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.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Levon Ter-Markosyan, D.M.D.

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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.