Hippocrates hypothesized that yawning would get rid of the toxic air in our body and replenish a supply of clean air. Is that true?
Well, it shows that people were curious about yawning even back in those ancient times.
If you are yawning at wrong places and need help, then you have found your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
In this article, you will get all the information you need to stop that pesky yawn that is bound to spoil your image.
What Happens When You Yawn?
When you yawn, the powerful stretching of your jaw increases the blood flow to your neck, face and head.
When you take a deep breath during a yawn. It forces the downward flow of spinal fluid and blood from the brain. The cool air that is breathed in through the mouth cools these fluids.
According to experts, these processes may act like a radiator removing hot blood from the brain. This process may introduce cool blood to the brain from the lungs and extremities and thereby cool the brain.
Andrew. C. Gallup, a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Princeton University, theorizedas following. The colder outside air cools the brain better than hot air. So we yawn more when the air is cool and yawn less when the air is hot.
Why Do We Yawn?
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In one simple word, we yawn to cool the brain. Even data collected on rats and parakeets support the brain cooling hypothesis. The common belief is that yawning helps to increase the oxygen supply. New research says that the underlying mechanism for yawning both spontaneous and contagious is involved in regulating the brain temperature.
When the temperature of the brain cools down it improves cortical arousal and mental efficiency. Cortical arousal increases vigilance, wakefulness, muscle tone, minute ventilation and heart rate.
An interesting tidbit about yawning is that contagious yawning or yawning transmission is more frequent and faster between people sharing an emphatic bond. Such as kin, close friends and mates. Scientists say that yawn can be a sign of empathy. It may not necessarily be due to boredom. Contagious yawning can, therefore, increase overall group vigilance.
Do you know that even fetuses yawn in the womb? Research suggests that yawning could be linked to fetal development. It could be due to the maturation of the central nervous system.
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According to Dr. Georga Cooke, from the Australian College of General Practitioners, excessive yawning may indicate a sleep disorder. Excessive yawning is called vasovagal reaction. It is caused by vagus nerve on the blood vessels and may be due to a heart problem.
There are 10 possible reasons for excessive yawning
- Central sleep apnea
- Heart attack
- Multiple sclerosis
- Dissection of the aorta.
How To Stop A Yawn?
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Yawning can provide some awkward moments, particularly in the office or school settings. Whatever scientific theory may be behind the reason for yawning. It conveys a feeling that the person is bored or not interested in.
So here are some effective steps to help you to stop yawning.
It is a general belief that lack of oxygen may involuntarily cause you to yawn. So take some deep breaths before you start to yawn.
There are 3 kinds of deep breathing exercises.
- The stimulating breath or the bellows breath
- Relaxing breath
- Breath counting
The stimulating breath and breath counting exercises help you to stay alert.
Taking its cue from yogic breathing techniques, stimulating breath raises vital energy and increases alertness.
This is how you’ll go about. Close your mouth and inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose. Take short duration breaths at equal intervals. Try for three in and out breath cycles per second.
It boosts your alertness and is much used in Zen practice. You should sit in a comfortable position and incline your head forward. Close your eyes and take few deep breaths.
To begin you should count 1 as you exhale. Count only when you exhale. Repeat this process for 5 times. Then begin a new cycle, you can do this exercise for 10 minutes.
When you do these exercises oxygen enters your body, boosts alertness and prevents yawning.
Practice Diaphragm Breathing
Overall oxygen supply to your body increases if you follow this ritual. Doing these on a daily basis can stop excessive yawning. Get into a comfortable position. Keep one hand on your chest and the other hand on your lower stomach.
Breathe through your nose. See to that the hand on your stomach rises while the hand on the chest remains stationary. Count till four and exhale through your mouth.
Repeat five to ten times. Practice diaphragm breathing once a day.
Use a Cold Compress
If you are in a meeting and feel like yawning. Excuse yourself and try to apply a cold compress. Run a clean washcloth under cool water. Squeeze out any excess water and place it on your head. This may cool the brain and help to reduce that pesky yawns.
Have A Cold Drink
When you suffer from excessive yawning try to cool your body with a cold drink. Drink a glass of iced water with a sprig of mint. This will cool your body and the aroma of mint will enliven your senses.
Sip on some iced tea or coffee. Always have a cold water on hand. When the tendency to yawn strikes in, take a sip and distract yourself.
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Yawning is your body’s thermostat. When your brain is heated you tend to yawn. Chilled foods can help to bring down your body’s temperature. Fruits, veggies, yogurts and cheeses that are cold can suppress your yawning tendency.
Avoid ice creams or foods that are high in sugar as it can lead to excessive yawning. Choose healthy and whole chilled foods for some stunning results.
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This sounds interesting, isn’t? Richard Whelan a noted medical herbalist says excessive yawning could be the result of a distended belly.
He writes ginger and gentian could do wonders for this problem. The herb gentian rapidly removes sluggish behavior in the upper respiratory tract. Gentian is a great tonic and fights stress, so if excessive yawning is due to fatigue or digestive problems. It can act effectively to solve the problem.
Ginger relieves spasm in the stomach and upper respiratory tract. It relieves the distension in the gut that impedes the free movement of the diaphragm which leads to excessive yawning.
Take about 80 ml of gentian and 20 ml of ginger. This is the formula for the cure of excessive yawning. Only a very small amount is needed to achieve the best results. The dose is generally 6 to 20 drops depending on the person.
It may taste, intense at first, but once you get used to it, this combo will prove to be invaluable.
It is an old Japanese document written for Samurai warriors. They thought sneezing and yawning will make one look stupid. Here is their guide to stop yawning.
Samurai warriors felt it was rude to yawn in the faces of other people. If you have the tendency to yawn, rub your forehead upward. Use the base of your palm and firmly press up.
You can kill the yawn by lapping your lips with the tongue without opening your mouth. You might need to do this several times to stop yawning.
Take Anti-Depressants With Caution
Yawning is a complex stereotyped reflex that is poorly understood. Different psychological and pathological states can induce yawning. Serotoninergic agents are frequently cited to induce excessive yawning.
Yawning can also be induced by other class of antidepressants such as noradrenalin and serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
A case study reports that an 18-year-old girl was treated with serotonin reuptake inhibitor. She started to experience excessive, abnormal daytime yawning which lasted up to several seconds.
They were disturbing and disabling for the patient. Upon her doctor’s advice, she stopped taking the Paroxetine the yawning completely disappeared. Other medications such as Clomipramine, Saint John’s wort, and Agomelatine also caused excessive yawning. When the treatment was stopped, the yawning also stopped.
The authors explain that serotonin a vasoactive compound involved in the thermoregulation activities of the brain induces brain and core temperatures. This action is counterbalanced by excessive yawning.
So if you are taking antidepressants and suffer from excessive yawning. Have a word with your doctor.
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Anxiety leads to stress. While the body is stressed it can increase heart rate, respiration and tightening of the body’s muscles. These changes can cause excessive yawning. Many people tend to yawn when they are anxious or nervous.
If you want to find out whether you yawn due to anxiety take a free test here. It will help you to know whether yawning is likely related to anxiety disorder.
Anxious yawns cannot be easily turned off. The key to yawning less is to fight the hyperventilation. Try to take slower, calmer breaths. After some time, your oxygen and CO2 levels will be back in the right balance. You will not feel the urge to take a full yawn again.
You have to cure your anxiety if you are suffering from panic disorder. How can you do this? You can get good self-help information and work with an anxiety disorder coach, therapist or counselor to address your core cause of anxiety.
You can accelerate the recovery process by reducing stress, practicing relaxed breathing, not worrying about excessive yawning and increase your rest and relaxation.
Doodle To Stop Yawning
If you are in a meeting and start to yawn, then you may distract yourself by doodling. Doodles can be helpful in thinking about a problem or issue. ‘Doodling is a thinking tool”, says Sunni Brown, author of the book “The Doodle Revolution”.
Recent research studies in neuroscience say that doodling can help people stay focused, retain information and grasp new concepts.
Doodling shifts your focus from yawning and helps you to concentrate. It makes you more productive, keeps you in the present moment, helps generate great ideas and is an outlet for everyday creativity.
If you are in a meeting and start to yawn excessively. Wipe your face and eyes with wet tissues and start doodling. This will shift your focus and will kill the yawn.
Follow a Set Schedule
Our body runs on a 24 hour set cycle known as the circadian rhythm. It is the mental, physical and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle. This cycle responds primarily to light and darkness.
If you follow a set schedule your body will regulate itself by feeling energized when needed and sleepy during bedtime.
Try to get up and sleep at set times each day. Follow this practice even during weekends. Your body will adapt to this sleep-wake cycle and you’ll feel more energized in the mornings. Getting 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep will prevent daytime yawning.
Take breaks at the same time each day. If you work out,maintain, set times even for that. Your body will adapt to this schedule and will regulate the energy levels to suit your needs.
Walk Throughout The Day
If you are sitting still for a long time, fatigue and boredom can set in. This may give rise to bouts of yawning. To prevent it go for a short walk, even if it is from your desk to the water cooler.
Walking boosts up the circulation and increases your breathing rate. You can do some simple and breathing exercises to alert your body. If possible go for awalk outside, the natural surroundings, the tweeting of birds, therustling of leaves and the fragrance of the flowering trees will invigorate your senses.
Once you feel refreshed it will prevent the bouts of yawning.
Foods That Will Kill The Yawn
Healthy foods will boost your energy levels and will fight fatigue. Here is a list of foods that will help to reduce yawning.
Fatigue is a sign of dehydration and yawning is caused by fatigue. Many bodily functions rely upon water to run smoothly. Two-thirds of our body are made up of water. Water maximizes physical performance.
Dehydration affects the brain and nerve cells. It can increase the core temperature of the body. Your brain is strongly influenced by the hydration status.
Water greatly improves your energy levels and brain function. Start your day by drinking at least 2 glasses of water to keep yourself hydrated.
Keep a bottle handy throughout the day. You can add variety by drinking coconut water, or adding lemon and mint to plain water.
Magnesium Rich Foods
Magnesium is a key mineral in human metabolism. Magnesium enables the energy production that takes place in our cells.
Low levels of magnesium can be a potential factor in causing fatigue. Nuts, seeds, leafy greens such as chard and spinach are rich sources of magnesium. Pumpkin seeds, yogurt or kefir, almonds, black beans, avocado, figs, dark chocolate and banana are some of the foods that are high in magnesium.
Other foods such as salmon, cashews, coriander, artichokes and goat cheese are also high in magnesium.
Tip – since dark chocolate is high in magnesium, you can take a few pieces of it to any meeting and eat it as a snack to prevent yawning. A recent study found that eating a little amount of dark chocolate, helps fight fatigue.
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Inulin is found in energy bars, oatmeal because it helps to fight fatigue. Inulin is full of fibers and low in calories. Inulin increases fullness, slows digestion and removes cholesterol as it passes through the digestive tract. Get the best inulin prebiotic here.
It helps the body to absorb iron and battles anemia. An adequate supply of iron boosts energy levels and prevents fatigue and yawning.
Foods that are rich in inulin include wheat, garlic, onion, Jerusalem artichokes, banana, dandelion root, sugar beet, leeks, and asparagus.
Complex carbohydrates provide a slow burn of sustained energy to your brain. They maintain your blood sugar levels and keeps your mood steady.
Whole grains help lower cholesterol, aids in digestion, lower blood pressure, they deliver essential nutrients to the brain. This reduces fatigue and prevents bouts of yawning.
Foods such as oatmeal, pasta, whole grain bread, potatoes, corn, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, beans, lentils, and peas are great examples.
Lean proteins boost your energy levels and improve heart health. Foods high in saturated fat raises your cholesterol levels and increase the risk of coronary heart disease. They take a lot of energy to digest, leaving you feeling sated but zapping for energy.
Fatigue can make you yawn excessively. Proteins are the building blocks of muscles and they help you to feel alert. Try to avoid higher fat, protein foods such as fatty cuts of meat, regular ground beef, full-fat dairy, hot dogs, and processed luncheon meat and bacon.
Good lean protein options include skinless chicken breasts, turkey, fish, and beans.
Aromatic, citrusy and juicy citrus fruits combat fatigue in a fruitful way. Consumption of citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons has been shown to improve mood, remove tension, fatigue, anxiety, nervousness, exhaustion and dizziness.
When you a start to yawn grab a fresh citrus fruit and gobble it up.
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Smell is the strongest of the senses and it greatly enhances brain activity. Olfactory lobes are part of the limbic system. It directly connects to the area of the brain that processes emotion and learning.
So if you are feeling worn out and start to yawn. A drop of essential oil could jumpstart your brain activity. So have a small bottle of essential oil in your purse, and inhale when you feel like yawning.
Research studies by the Ohio State University say that lemon oil aroma consistently produced positive mood outcomes. The levels of feel-goodneurotransmitter norepinephrine increased upon the inhalation of lemon showing actual physical and emotional effect on the brain.
The revitalizing effects of lemon oil, improve brain functioning, mental focus, alertness, and clarity.
Rosemary essential oil was shown to reduce the cortisol levels. Excess cortisol has been linked to decreased memory and learning. Lavender, jasmine, cinnamon, and peppermint essential oils can work their magic and fend off yawning.
How To Avoid Yawning During The Day?
- You have to change your sleeping habits and set a proper time for sleeping.
- It’s a myth that your body adjusts quickly to a different sleep schedule.
- If you change or shift your regular sleep schedule. It will cause lots of yawning when you are awake.
- The quality of your sleep matters most to prevent yawning.
- Try to get 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep to function at your best during your waking hours.
- Shut off your electronics and keep them away from your bedroom. The type of light these screens emit can stimulate your brain. It can suppress the melatonin production and interfere with your sleep.
- Set an alarm to remind you that it’s time for bedtime.
- Try to do a relaxing activity before your bedtime. Take a warm bath, read a good book, do any restful activity that will soothe your brain and lull it to sleep.
- Keep your bedroom comfortable, cool, dark and quiet.
- Use heavy certains to block the light from the windows, so your bedroom is dark and cozy for a good night’s sleep.
- Wakeup with the sun, sunlight helps your body’s inner clock to reset itself each day.
- Keep your naps short and sweet between 10 and 30 minutes. Avoid taking naps after 3 PM.
- Maintain a sleep journal.
- Try to limit foods that contain tryptophan during the day. Tryptophan gets converted to serotonin in the brain. Serotonin helps you to fall asleep.
- Avoid consuming caffeine 4 to 6 hours before your bedtime.
- Don’t drink alcohol 1-2 hours before bedtime.
- Have a light snack like a piece of fruit before going to bed. This will keep your tummy from grumbling at night.
- Skip a big glass of water before your bedtime. Avoid liquids 90 minutes before going to bed.
- Don’t think about problems that cause you to worry before your bedtime. Have a good night’s sleep, a new day will usher in positive changes. Have faith.
Yawning is a natural process. Whatever theories may be put forth, feel free to give a nice big yawn before your bedtime. So your body is completely relaxed before you hop into your bed for a cozy and good night’s sleep.
To avoid excessive yawning, make sure to observe and apply the tips listed above. At the end of the day, motivating yourself in getting a good night sleep and stripping off the negative energy around you is the best way to keep your body from repeating its involuntary processes like yawning throughout the day.
When the bouts of yawning hit you in your office or school, be sure to follow these steps for an active and positive day.
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