Excessive Yawning Means Low Brain O2 and CO2
Causes of yawning a lot
The central cause of excessive yawning or yawning a lot is low CO2 (carbon dioxide) and oxygen levels in brain cells. Most modern people constantly have low brain and body oxygenation. Let us consider why.
The physiological norm for breathing at rest (for adults) is only 6 L/min. This means that modern people breathe about 2 times more air than the norm, and almost 3 times more than people living 80-100 years ago, when constant yawning was a very rare complaint.
Overbreathing means that there are excessive losses of CO2. This causes spasm or constriction of arteries and reduced perfusion of all vital organs and reduced O2 delivery. Therefore, modern people suffer from low CO2 and O2 levels in body and brain cells. CO2, as dozens of clinical studies proved, is a potent sedative and tranquilizer of the nerve cells (see links below), while O2 is also crucial for normal nerve cell function.
Now we know the cause of excessive yawning. Yawning a lot means that you likely have less than 20 s for the body O2 test. It is known that overbreathing has some features of being contagious, but what about yawning?
Is yawning contagious?
There are theories and observations that suggest that yawning is a contagious form of social behavior present in many wild animals. Surely, when driven by a natural desire to sleep, yawning is contagious.
However, millions of people experience constant yawning every day even when they are alone or surrounded by people who do not yawn at all.
In order to stop yawning, one can apply a simple breathing exercise that eliminates this symptom in about 1 minute and provides the body with much more energy in 2-3 minutes.
How to stop yawning a lot (easy breathing exercise)
After your usual exhalation, start breath holding until you get a desire to breathe more. For relatively healthy and fit people, this breath holding can be done until a medium desire to breathe. After breath holding, you need to accumulate CO2 using the breathing pattern shown here:
Take a smaller (shorter) inhalation using the diaphragm or abdominal muscles and then relax to exhale. Maintain this pattern for about 1-2 minutes. This exercise increases brain and body O2 and CO2 levels by nearly 10-20%. These numbers look small, but it is enough for most cases to reset the breathing center in the brain to easier and regular breathing without the desire to yawn. For many people, as mentioned above, even doing a longer breath hold helps a lot (if it is safe to do) to stop constant yawning.
This symptom (yawning a lot) disappears when brain and body O2 is over 30 seconds 24/7. In order to achieve this, one needs to get rid of excessive breathing and learn how to breathe slower and less (or closer to the medical norm).
Or go back to Hyperventilation symptoms
Reference pages: Breathing norms and the DIY body oxygen test:
- Breathing norms: Parameters, graph, and description of the normal breathing pattern
- Body-oxygen test (CP test) : How to measure your own breathing and body oxygenation (two in one) using a simple DIY test
References: pages about CO2 effect:
- Vasodilation: CO2 expands arteries and arterioles facilitating perfusion (or blood supply) to all vital organs
- The Bohr effect: How and why oxygen is released by red blood cells in body tissues
- Nerve stabilization: Carbon dioxide has powerful calmative and sedative effects on brain neurons and nerve cells
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