Possible Causes Behind Constant Yawning
Yawning is often seen as a by-product of being tired or bored, but constant yawning can be a symptom of a more serious issue. A yawn is described as an involuntary urge to open the mouth very wide to inhale a deep breath of air, but what could cause such a basic (and kind of odd) function? To be perfectly frank, doctors are not entirely sure as to why the human body occasionally induces the urge to yawn, but many believe that it is due to low oxygen levels in the bloodstream.
Yawning is considered to be excessive if the sensation occurs more than one time within a minute and continues on for an extended amount of time. Excessive yawning is not really thought to be caused by low oxygen levels, as a typical yawn is, because constant yawning is often associated with a medical disorder. We are going to talk about a few of the disorders in which excessive yawning is a reported symptom as well as treatment options for these conditions.
Epilepsy is one of the conditions in which one might find his/her self yawning often. Epilepsy is a disorder that affects the brain. If the brain’s normal functioning is interrupted, abnormal, or excessive, a seizure can occur. A person who has had more than one unprovoked seizure is generally referred to as being epileptic. There are medications available to treat epilepsy, but they are not always effective. In some cases, an epileptic can still fail to control a seizure even while taking the best epilepsy medication available. There are different types of epilepsy—some of which are only present during childhood or over the age of 65—so the types of treatment and their effectiveness will differ.
Another possible cause behind excessive yawning is a sleep disorder such as insomnia, sleep apnea, or narcolepsy. Insomnia is a disorder in which no matter how tired a person is, they either cannot sleep enough throughout the night to satisfy their body’s needs, or the sleep they do get is not of good quality. Since the main cause behind insomnia is stress, many insomniacs often exercise stress management techniques. In some cases a patient may be prescribed a medication that induces sleep.
Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person stops breathing for periods of time while they are asleep. Because the cessation in breathing can range anywhere from a few seconds to minutes, it often accounts for a very frustrating and restless sleep. It can even spur anxiety by causing the sufferer to fear they may go to sleep and not wake up. Headaches, snoring, and even memory issues can be caused by sleep apnea. About 90% of people who suffer from sleep apnea are not aware of their condition; in fact, it is usually a bed partner that notices the symptoms first. Because this condition often results in low-quality sleep, it leaves the sufferer feeling tired throughout the day—which leads to excessive yawning among other symptoms. Treatments for sleep apnea vary depending on the source of the problem. Being overweight, use of drugs or alcohol consumption, constricted nasal or airway passages, and having large tonsils are just a few things that can cause sleep apnea.
Narcolepsy is a disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness to the point where a person’s body becomes so fatigued that the muscles involuntarily relax and the sufferer falls asleep. This sleep cannot be controlled and can happen at any time—even while driving or working. A narcoleptic will often awaken several times throughout their night time sleep, which may account for their sleepiness during the day, but that is not always the case. Some narcoleptics experience perfectly satisfying night time sleeps yet still cannot physically resist falling asleep throughout the day. This daytime sleepiness is likely to result in constant yawning, sluggishness, foggy memory, and many other symptoms. Medication is available to help treat narcolepsy, but the most successful treatments are those that are tailored specifically to the individual.
A general anxiety disorder can also be a possible cause behind constant yawning. Anxiety is defined as a near constant state of excessive worry, fear, or simple unease. A person who has a true anxiety disorder usually will feel this way with or without cause. For instance, they may simply keep themselves emotionally “tense” in preparation for a negative event that they believe is bound to occur at any time. The way a person handles their anxiety, or the ways in which anxiety physically manifests itself can range in severity. While you may yawn excessively another person may twitch or fidget. There are different types of anxiety disorders, so the treatments do vary. Some types of anxiety require counseling and medication while others can be relieved merely by maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, and engaging in positive hobbies or activities.
As you can see, there are many possible causes behind chronic yawning, many of which we were not able to cover in this article. If you believe that you may be suffering from a health issue of any sort, please see your doctor as soon as possible for a consultation.