In most cases, yawning is a typical reflex. Thanks to mirror neurons, many people unconsciously feel the urge to yawn when we see someone else doing it. You may also yawn to equalize pressure in your ears when you experience an elevation change, like traveling in an airplane. Sleepiness and boredom are two other factors that can trigger yawning, possibly to help increase your alertness.
Should You Worry About Excessive Yawning?
You probably yawn several times a day without realizing it. However, yawning more than once a minute could signify a serious medical condition, such as chronic sleep deprivation resulting from insomnia or sleep apnea.
Excessive yawning can also result from taking some medications, especially those that cause drowsiness. Always read the labels on any prescription drugs your doctor recommends taking to familiarize yourself with the potential side effects.
More rarely, excessive yawning might indicate:
- A brain tumor
- A heart condition
- Multiple sclerosis
- Liver failure
- Your body struggling to regulate its temperature
What to Do If You Think You Yawn Too Much
If you’ve noticed a sudden increase in how often you yawn, the first step is to schedule an appointment with your doctor. They’ll likely start the exam by asking you several questions about your sleeping habits to determine whether you are consistently getting enough high-quality rest. Be honest about any irregularities in your sleep schedule, including whether you struggle with your mental health or frequently rely on drugs or alcohol to help you fall asleep.
After ruling out sleep disorders, your physician may perform diagnostic tests to find another possible cause for excessive yawning. Tests like an MRI or EEG can help a medical professional figure out whether you are yawning more than usual because you have an underlying health problem.
Your Excessive Yawning Treatment Plan
Do you have reasons to suspect your excessive yawning is due to one or more medications you regularly take? Ask your doctor about changing your dosage or finding an alternative remedy. Do not alter your dosage schedule or stop taking your prescriptions without first getting approval from your physician.
If you receive a diagnosis of a sleep disorder, you may need to manage your condition with some lifestyle changes, like exercising more, sticking with a consistent sleeping schedule or using a breathing device overnight. Your doctor will likely recommend immediate treatment if your exam determines your excessive yawning signifies a severe medical condition, such as liver failure or a brain tumor.
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