Reasons for Excessive Yawning

Everyone yawns – sometimes because of fatigue, other times it is due to boredom. At what point do you need to worry about the amount that you participate in this habit? Typically, experts say that if you find yourself yawning quite often and cannot tie boredom or fatigue into it, you need to look into the reasons because some cases can be life-threatening, but reacting to the symptoms early could save your life.


Sleep Issues


Aside from fatigue, yawning can be a sign of other sleep issues, including things like sleep apnea and narcolepsy. In these cases, your yawning is a result of not getting quality sleep. In the case of sleep apnea, you stop breathing many times throughout the night. This causes your quality of sleep to greatly diminish, even if your brain does not fully wake up each time, your body feels it. Throughout the day, you can find it hard to stay focused or not have any energy as a result. If you have narcolepsy, you could suffer from daytime drowsiness as a result of the neurological disorder occurring in your body which causes your body to react in weird ways – including yawning.


Heart Issues


If you have heart issues, it could affect the vagus nerve, which is the nerve that controls your body’s yawning.  Typically, when there is an issue with this nerve, you are about to experience a heart attack or aortic dissection. The two occurrences are very different; a heart attack is a blockage that restricts the flow of oxygen to the heart and an aortic dissection is bleeding in the main artery surrounding the heart. Both conditions can be life threatening and should be evaluated by a doctor right away. Even if you think you are just tired, if the yawning seems excessive and occurs for several days, a serious condition could be occurring.




Excessive yawning can sometimes be a warning sign that something is about to occur. In particular, it could signify that you are about to experience a migraine. Experts do not have an explanation as to why this occurs, but studies show that more than 35 percent of people that suffer from migraines start yawning every few minutes right before a headache occurs. The yawning phase typically occurs before an aura phase, if you experience those, so you can use this symptom as a sign to take precautions to fight against a migraine before it hits.


Nervous Reflex


Yawning is an involuntary reflex and can often occur when you are nervous. Studies have shown that all species, including animals, reptiles, and humans tend to yawn before they endure something that makes them nervous. For example, if you own a dog, pay attention the next time he has to do something that he does not like, such as go to the vet or take a bath. When you say the words or do something that makes him realize what is going on, watch for his reaction – he will probably yawn.


Yawning does not always signify something life threatening, but if it occurs excessively, it should be a cause for concern. If you do not suffer from migraines and do not have anything to pinpoint your nervousness to at the moment, you may want to have a doctor examine you to ensure that you are in good health and are not experiencing symptoms of a future heart attack, sleep apnea, or narcolepsy. The sooner you know about any of these issues and treat them, the sooner will will be on the right track to feeling better.