Yawning

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Yawning is an involuntary intake of breath through a wide open mouth, usually triggered by fatigue or boredom. Dr. Edward Hill explains more about yawning in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Yawning involves opening the mouth involuntarily while taking a long, deep breath of air.

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.

Medical science is not quite sure why we yawn. One theory is that when we are bored or tired, we dont breathe as deep as we normally do. That slower breathing may create a build-up of carbon monoxide or a low oxygen level in our blood triggering the yawning reflex.

Yawning is most common just after awakening or just before bedtime. It normally lasts about six seconds. Yawning can be observed as early as the 11th week of life. Yawning can help expand the lungs and equalize the pressure in the middle ear.

To prevent excess yawning, get plenty of sleep at night and physical and mental stimulation during the day.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.