How do I stop yawning all the time?
August 13, 2009 9:11 AM   Subscribe

How do I stop yawning all the time?

When you work with professional adults, yawning is the one of the last things you want to do in front of them. But I can't help it.

I get enough sleep - I think. Between 5-7 hours most nights; after waking up and perhaps a Coke / cup of coffee I'm awake. There's no discernible pattern - it's likely to happen while with a client, when NOT with a client, typing on the computer, at home, walking, riding the subway, in the morning, in the afternoon. At no point do I typically feel sleepy (perhaps once a week while riding the subway), nor it is a response to my clients (e.g. they're not boring me).

I'm in my late 20's, male, normal diet, and otherwise completely healthy FWIW. Any suggestions from the wonderful MeFi world?
posted by chrisinseoul to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Yawning is your body's way of getting more oxygen into your lungs. For some reason, you're a shallow breather. All you need to do is breathe more deeply and the yawning will stop. It actually takes some concentration but it's definitely doable, and you'll notice a difference immediately. Also, do you exercise? The heavy breathing that accompanies exercising is great for expanding your lung capacity, allowing for more air to get in there....
posted by iconomy at 9:15 AM on August 13, 2009

Between five and seven hours may well not be enough sleep for you. Try shooting for seven or eight hours most nights.
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:21 AM on August 13, 2009

I used to do this loads, when I was getting, as you say, 5-7 hours a night. What I didn't realise is that I actually needed a bit more (8 hours ideally). I also trained myself to get out of bed no matter what at a certain hour (6am) and hence am a lot less groggy in the morning. Usual sleep hygiene also applies, like no glowing screens an hour or so before bed. I'm not perfect, but I don't have massive black bags under my eyes and I don't have to constantly do the 'yawn without opening my mouth' thing in meetings.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:23 AM on August 13, 2009

Expanding on iconomy's comment, you know you're breathing deeply when your belly expands and your shoulders don't move.

A good way to experience what a deep breath feels like is to lie flat on the floor and breathe. You'll notice that your abdomen expands and contracts, while your chest (and of course your shoulders) remain inert.

Another thought in addition to those provided by earlier comments: Yawning/sleepiness can also be an indication of low fluid intake. (People often feel tired or hungry when, really, they're thirsty.)
posted by DrGail at 9:39 AM on August 13, 2009

If you are using caffeine to wake up, be aware that it has, on some people, the effect of causing you to "crash" after it wears off.
posted by longsleeves at 10:43 AM on August 13, 2009

5-7 hours of sleep is 6 on average. That's not a lot of sleep for most people. For me, the difference between 6 hours of sleep and 7 is like night and day. Consistently getting 6 or less makes me tired, moody, yawn, etc. I suspect another hour of sleep a night will clear up your problem. A lot of people who are chronically sleepy dont realize it and claim they feel fine. They have just forgotten how it feels to be fully rested.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:46 AM on August 13, 2009

I believe recent evidence has linked yawning with heat regulation. How's your body temp and are you taking enough fluids?
posted by zemblamatic at 10:54 AM on August 13, 2009

When I feel like I am going to yawn, sometimes inhaling sharply through my nose will head it off.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:51 PM on August 13, 2009

Press your tongue against the roof of your mouth to suppress a yawn. It works.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 2:20 PM on August 13, 2009

You're not on antidepressants by any chance, are you? Some of those can make you yawn a lot.
posted by AV at 3:51 PM on August 13, 2009

I know when my eyes are dry I sometimes yawn quite a bit to get moisture to them. Are your eyes frequently dry? Do you wear contacts? Maybe that's a part of it.
posted by 6550 at 4:41 PM on August 13, 2009

Perhaps Eustachian Tube Dysfunction and/or allergies?

Nose gets stuffy, I start to sniff, sniff, sniff... next thing I'm mildly hyperventilating which makes me yawn.
Ears are stuffy, I open my jaw several times to "pop" them; triggers my yawn reflex.

If these seem like possible scenarios, have an ENT take a look.
posted by for_serious at 5:15 PM on August 13, 2009

Melatonin can cause excessive yawning.
So can sleep apnea.
posted by SLC Mom at 6:38 PM on August 13, 2009

Thanks all for the answers - I'm going to try the 'deeper breathing ' suggestion and the 'more sleep' suggestion (definitely more of a lifestyle change, but worth a try for multiple reasons).
posted by chrisinseoul at 11:36 PM on August 16, 2009

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