Top Reasons Why You Can't Stop Yawning
Yawning is a natural process and the underlying conditions are temporary and not a cause of concern. However, excessive yawning requires a thorough diagnosis. This is because the condition may be caused due to serious diseases. Treatment is generally focused on managing the underlying medical condition.
How Much Yawning Is Too Much?
Yawning is a natural and involuntary process of filling the lungs with air. Generally, yawning more than once per minute is considered as excessive yawning. Yawning, sometimes, has a contagious effect. People often yawn when seeing others yawning or thinking about yawning. It is to be noted that yawning more than normal, even in the presence of underlying causes, is also considered as excessive yawning. Excessive yawning may harm the personal and professional life and sometimes make the situation embarrassing. It significantly reduces the quality of life.
What Is The Physiological Mechanism Behind Yawning?
The average time, for which the process of yawning occurs, is 5 seconds. Yawning provides a sense of comfort. The process involves the deep and long inspiration followed by a slow exhalation.
Various researchers have contributed to finding the possible physiological mechanisms of yawning. Yawning and arousal brain reflexes are known to be correlated with each other. When the person is not able to sustain his attention in a task or meeting, a condition technically known as boredom, the asleep generating system is stimulated which leads to drowsiness. This increased brain activity leads to arousal. Some researchers advocate that yawning is an arousal defense reflex of complex nature.
Another important physiological reason proposed for yawning is brain cooling. It has been stated that yawning is the process of cooling the brain when its temperature reaches a threshold level. Yawning increases the activity of facial muscles due to contraction and relaxation. This increases blood flow and allows the dissipation of excessive heat.
Contagious yawning mostly occurs in people who have a feeling of social empathy. People with limited social interaction are relatively immune to contagious yawning.
What Are The Causes Of Yawning?
The exact cause of excessive yawning is yet to be known. Excessive yawning may either be due to less serious concerns such as tiredness or fatigue or may occur due to serious medical conditions. Following are some of the common causes of excessive yawning;
1. Tiredness And Boredom
Yawning occurs when the person gets disconnected from the external environment due to brain fatigue and lack of concentration. This increases the flow of blood circulation and oxygen to the brain. Many vitamins and minerals are required for energy production and to maintain metabolism. Thus, excessive yawning and vitamin deficiency are related to each other.
People with insomnia have poor concentration and have increased irritability. Such people try hard to stay awake during the day. Obstructive sleep apnea may be one of the reasons for poor sleep.
Various medications cause fatigue and tiredness. These medications may lead to excessive yawning. Medications that can be included in the list are various pain-relieving medications, antihistamines, and some anti-depressants.
4. Cardiovascular Events
The involvement of the vagus nerve in excessive yawning cannot be ruled out. Vagus nerve controls the functioning of the heart. In some cases, excessive yawning may be related to a heart attack.
Excessive yawning and anxiety are interlinked. Anxiety is one of the powerful triggers of yawning due to its energy-draining property. Prolong anxiety negatively impacts the cardiovascular system and respiratory system. Increased anxiety worsens the frequency of yawning. Anxiety is also the link between excessive yawning and shortness of breath.
6. Neurological Disorders
Depression, stroke, and epilepsy may lead to excessive yawning.
7. Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis may also cause excessive yawning.
How To Diagnose Excessive Yawning?
Diagnosis of the excessive yawning and the underlying condition is mostly diagnosed through differential and excluding mechanisms. The doctor tries to identify the reason for yawning by examining the vital parameters of the patient.
The tests include Electroencephalogram (EEG) to analyze the health of the brain and Chest X-ray or scan to determine the function of the heart. The doctor, during the preliminary examination, may ask the patient about its level of energy, both mental and physical, throughout the day.
How To Stop Excessive Yawning?
Yawning is a symptom of an underlying condition. The condition may be tiredness or other diseases. Thus, the treatment is focused to identify and treat the underlying condition causing excessive yawning.
If yawning is caused due to underlying diseases related to the cardiovascular system or brain or liver, the doctor may recommend appropriate treatment to cure or manage the condition.
If medications are the reasons for yawning, your healthcare provider may either change the medication or lower the dose of your current medication.
If you can’t stop yawning due to poor sleep, it is managed by either administering the medications that assist in sleeping or the doctor may recommend the use of sleep-aiding devices.