Home » Yawning And Anxiety: Should You Ever Ignore Yawning Due To Anxiety?

Yawning And Anxiety: Should You Ever Ignore Yawning Due To Anxiety?

Yawning & Anxiety
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Yawning is a common reaction of our body to tiredness and stress. It can also serve as a signal of the body’s attempt to control stress levels.

Yawning is a mechanism to alert the brain to take deep breaths that may become disrupted during intense anxiety moments.

Symptoms such as inability to concentrate and feeling low, along with excessive yawning, could indicate anxiety, insomnia, and certain medical reactions. 

Yawning could be awkward if it comes in between important meetings and in the office. Thus, it 

is essential to take proper measures to overcome the issue of excessive yawning.

This article sheds light on the causes and underlying reasons for anxiety-induced yawning. You will learn more about the effective strategies to manage your yawning and its associated symptoms.

Why Do We Yawn?

  • Brain Temperature Regulation: Some theories suggest that yawning helps regulate brain temperature by cooling it down and helping maintain optimal cognitive function.
  • Lung Stretching: Another theory explains that yawning stretches the lungs and lung tissue, possibly increasing oxygen intake and enhancing respiratory efficiency.
  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation: Yawning may also stimulate the vagus nerve, which helps regulate various bodily functions, including heart rate and digestion.

Yawning And Anxiety

Causes Of Excessive Yawning

Causes Description Examples

Sleep Problems

Tiredness, fatigue, and sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea

Difficulty concentrating, irritability, slower reflexes, muscle discomfort


Triggered by its effects on the respiratory system and energy levels

Increased yawning during anxious periods, no clear trigger


Side effects of drugs like antidepressants, antihistamines, and pain relief meds

Fatigue that leads to excessive yawning


Antidepressant side effects or fatigue can cause or worsen excessive yawning

Consultation for proper management recommended

Heart Issues

Linked to conditions like bleeding around the heart or heart attacks

Symptoms: chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea

  1. Anxiety

    Anxiety could trigger yawning, which can manifest through symptoms such as increased heart rate, respiratory distress, and changes in energy levels.

    Yawning related to anxiety can intensify during periods of heightened stress, worsening feelings of unease and discomfort.

    People dealing with anxiety often experience yawning a lot of times, even when they are not stressed or anxious.

  2. Medications

    • (SSRIs)Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and other antidepressants: These drugs help treat anxiety and depression symptoms, which can cause side effects such as yawning due to their impact on neurotransmitter levels in the brain.
    • Antihistamines: This medication could lead to excessive yawning as it can induce drowsiness and affect the central nervous system, resulting in increased yawning episodes.
    • Some pain relief medications: Certain pain medications, especially opioids, can also trigger excessive yawning as a side effect. These drugs may affect the brain’s regulation of breathing, leading to an increase in yawning frequency.
  3. Stroke

    People experiencing a stroke may observe excessive yawning, which helps regulate and reduce the brain and body’s core temperature following brain injury.

    Research indicates that the brain stem, the area at the base of the brain that relates to the spinal cord, may contribute to the yawning process. Excessive yawning can manifest before or after a stroke, potentially acting as a mechanism to help the body cope with the aftermath of a stroke.

  4. Epilepsy

    People with epilepsy may experience excessive yawning, especially before, during, or after seizures. Temporal lobe epilepsy could come with pronounced yawning episodes, which may work as a potential indicator of epilepsy. Fatigue after having a seizure may cause excessive yawning in people dealing with epilepsy.

  5. Sleep Problems

    Tiredness and fatigue could cause excessive yawning. When people experience constant fatigue or daytime sleepiness, it could be a sign of an underlying sleep disorder that negatively affects the quality of their rest.

    Excessive yawning due to insufficient sleep could make concentrating hard, cause irritability, and slow down reflexes.

  6. Multiple Sclerosis

    You may experience excessive yawning if diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (M.S.), causing fatigue and disrupted body temperature.

    People with M.S. could experience trouble sleeping, affecting their cortisol levels and yawning. Multiple Sclerosis may also manifest through other symptoms like vision problems, dizziness, and difficulty walking.

  7. Liver Failure

    Excessive yawning is observed during the advanced stages of liver failure, often causing fatigue. Liver failure can manifest in various ways, such as

    • Diarrhea
    • Edema in the hands or feet and excess fluid retention inside the abdomen
    • Loss of appetite
    • Confusion
    • Feeling extremely sleepy in the daytime
    • Nausea

    Yawning excessively in liver failure may be a consequence of the body’s struggle to cope with the vast physiological result of liver dysfunction.

  8. Depression

    Antidepressant medications for depression could worsen the yawning patterns by causing fatigue. Prescribed medicines for depression, like Remeron, may increase yawning by affecting the brain temperature and core body temperature.

  9. Heart Problems

    Excessive yawning accompanied by symptoms like chest pain or shortness of breath could indicate potential heart problems related to the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve attaches the brain to the heart and stomach, which helps regulate various bodily functions. In some conditions, excessive yawning might mean bleeding around the heart areas.

Treatment For Yawning

The treatments for yawning depend on the cause of yawning, which includes:

  • If yawning is related to sleep problems, improving your sleep habits or seeking sleep treatments might be beneficial.
  • If yawning occurs as a reaction or side effect of certain medications, changing the dosage or medicines might help.
  • If you are experiencing excessive yawning due to an underlying medical condition, get yourself checked to understand the cause of yawning.
  • Practice deep breathing if you think conditions like anxiety or asthma are causing yawning.

How To Yawn Less?

You can manage yawning by taking slower and calmer breaths, which can gradually help reset the imbalanced level of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body. 

Practicing slower breathing may help prevent the cycle of hyperventilation and yawning from perpetuating.

You can also create a timely sleep schedule, which will help you sleep and wake up at the same time daily. Building a sleep routine could help eliminate excessive stress levels and encourage relaxation, resulting in less yawning in the daytime.

To reduce excessive yawning, you must engage in physical activities that may provide you with energy and help you sleep better and on time at night.

Avoiding consuming caffeine, alcohol, and heavy meals before bed could help reduce excessive yawning. Using a breathing device may help control your breathing and relax your body.

Must Visit: Mindfulness Meditation For Anxiety: Detailed Overview

How Yawning Can Hurt Your Anxiety?

Increased cortisol levels, a stress hormone, are connected with the excessive urge to yawn. It could also happen with nervous system disorders, which can put your body under stress. 

  • Forced yawns due to hyperventilation may not feel complete, leading to increased anxiety over health.
  • Yawning may provide a false sense of reassurance regarding breathing but can further hyperventilation by taking in excess oxygen.

However, yawning may subside when an emotional situation resolves, providing the body time to recover.


Ways To Hyperventilate With Anxiety

Hyperventilation is a physiological response associated with anxiety that may manifest through various breathing patterns that elevated stress levels might trigger. 

During anxiety attacks, people may experience rapid breathing, where the nervousness compels the body to breathe more quickly, leading to the expulsion of excess carbon dioxide without adequate oxygen intake. 

Hyperventilation could worsen physical symptoms like dry mouth and dizziness by increasing the feeling of anxiety and stress. You may also feel numbness and tingling around your palm and mouth. 

When you hyperventilate, breathe in more carbon dioxide to raise its levels in your blood. Heavy breathing could also be managed by listening to assurance from your loved ones, like, “You’re doing okay,” “You are not facing a heart attack,” etc. Please ensure you use a soft tone while conveying these comforting words to a person hyperventilating. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Excessive Yawning Be a Sign of an Underlying Mental Health Condition Other Than Anxiety?

Yes. Excessive yawning can indicate health conditions like sleep disorders, depression, and medication side effects other than anxiety. However, you need a health assessment to understand the actual cause behind the excessive yawning you are experiencing.

Are There Any Certain Triggers That Can Cause Excessive Yawning in Individuals With Anxiety?

Sleep disturbances, medication side effects, underlying health conditions, and fatigue could trigger excessive yawning in people with anxiety. Consulting a healthcare provider may help you with accurate diagnosis and appropriate anxiety management.

How Does Excessive Yawning Impact Daily Functioning and Quality of Life for People With Anxiety?

Excessive yawning can disrupt daily functioning by causing fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and social challenges in life for people with anxiety.

Are There Any Lifestyle Changes That Can Help Reduce Excessive Yawning in Individuals With Anxiety?

Lifestyle changes, like mindfulness practices, regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and adequate sleep, might help reduce excessive yawning in individuals with anxiety. Depending on your yawning intensity and condition, you can also seek healthcare support for personalized treatment.

Is There a Link Between Excessive Yawning and the Effectiveness of Anxiety Medications?

Excessive yawning may impact the effectiveness of anxiety medications or treatments, potentially indicating unresolved anxiety symptoms. Understanding this connection could help choose effective treatment strategies for improved outcomes and better management of anxiety disorders.


Yawning usually happens when you are too tired, drowsy, or feeling fatigued. Yawning during boredom and stressful situations is generally expected. 

Excessive yawning could indicate an underlying health concern that requires medical support. However, the relationship between yawning and anxiety is a complex interplay that needs further exploration. 

Increasing physical activity and building a sleep schedule could help manage your stress levels, potentially improving your yawning concern.

Avoid using blue light devices at least one hour before bed as they can hinder your sleep quality and ability to fall asleep. 

You can also seek therapy from an experienced physiatrist if you think that your anxiety is triggering the yawning or making it worse. 

Stay mindful of the medications you are taking, as drugs like antidepressants might elevate the yawning, causing distress and trouble focusing.


  • The information in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.
  • It is not recommended to disregard/delay seeking professional medical advice or treatment because of what you read or accessed through this review.
  • The results may vary from individual to individual.
  • It is recommended to consult your doctor for any underlying medical conditions or if you are on any prescribed medicines before trying any product or tips.
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