Have you been more frequently yawning lately? Here's why
Yawning is a natural response to feelings of tiredness and boredom. It is so contagious that it can even occur when you see someone else yawning. It's also likely that you may yawn while reading this paragraph! While it is normal, the real question is how much yawning is too much yawning? Well, here are some reasons why you have been yawning too frequently.
How much yawning is too much?
There's no definite number to suggest someone is yawning excessively. However, a 2018 study suggests that yawning three times within 15 minutes is abnormally frequent. Yawning 20-28 times a day is normal. The study also suggested that yawning is excessive if it's occurring spontaneously, is compulsive, and is not influenced by fatigue or boredom. Here are some reasons why you might be yawning excessively.
Sleep debt is often the reason behind excessive yawning. It is the amount of sleep you have missed in the past 14 days in relation to the sleep you are supposed to get i.e. the genetically determined amount of sleep your body needs. Excessive yawning and sleepiness may be a symptom of other sleep disorders like sleep apnea and narcolepsy.
Side effects of medication
Alteration in medications can also cause excessive yawning. Taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can also lead to excessive yawning. SSRIs are used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. They are preferred above other commonly used antidepressants due to their fewer side effects, except yawning. Other medications such as sedatives and narcotics too have been shown to induce excessive yawning.
The frequency of yawning could also increase due to many neurological disorders. Patients with migraine, epilepsy, stroke, head trauma, or multiple sclerosis may feel temporary relief from their symptoms when they yawn. Yawning could also be warning you about bleeding around the heart. In epilepsy, the brain makes you yawn to mellow the harmful effects of seizures.
Caffeine and nicotine withdrawal
Excessive yawning could also be one of the withdrawal symptoms of nicotine and caffeine. Research suggests that even a short duration of caffeine withdrawal can increase tiredness, thereby causing frequent yawning or drowsiness. The withdrawal symptoms typically begin about 12-24 hours after staying away from caffeine. This can last for more than a week. Similarly, quitting nicotine also induces excessive yawning.