Yawning involves opening the mouth involuntarily while taking a long, deep breath of air. This is usually done as a result of drowsiness or weariness. Excessive yawning is yawning that happens more often than would be expected, even if drowsiness or weariness is present.
Yawning is a normal response to fatigue and drowsiness, but excessive yawning can be caused by a vasovagal reaction. This reaction is caused by the action of a nerve, called the vagus nerve, on the blood vessels. It may indicate a heart problem.
Normal yawning may happen when someone else yawns.
- Drowsiness or weariness
- Disorders associated with excessive daytime sleepiness
- Vasovagal reaction
Follow the treatment for the underlying cause.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
- You experience unexplained and excessive yawning.
- The yawning is associated with excessive daytime sleepiness.
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
The health care provider will get your medical history and do a physical examination.
Medical history questions may include:
- When did the excessive yawning begin?
- How many times do you yawn per hour or day?
- Is the yawning the same throughout the day?
- Is it worse in the morning, after lunch, or during exercise?
- Is it worse in certain areas or certain rooms?
- Does yawning interfere with normal activities?
- Is the increased yawning related to the amount of sleep you get?
- Is it related to use of medications?
- Is it related to activity level?
- Is it related to boredom?
- What helps it?
- Does rest help?
- Does breathing deeply help?
- What other symptoms are present?
- What medications are you taking?
Diagnostic tests that may be performed include sleep studies.