Do you notice your child yawning more than usual? Are you worried there might be some underlying causes causing this yawning?
In most cases, you have nothing to worry about. The reason your child is yawning all the time is likely because he/she is tired, overheated, or fatigued in some way. Another reason could be that he/she is experiencing anxiety.
We will discuss these more later in this article. Meanwhile…
Get them plenty of rest, and if the problem persists, take your child to a doctor. You’ll get more peace of mind once you go consult a professional.
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It’s quite rare that excessive yawning in children turns into any serious issue.
I want to stress that what you’re about to read is not medical advice. If you feel there is something wrong with your child, please consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Why do kids yawn?
After studying this question for many years, scientists still don’t know for sure.
We do know is that most yawns start at the para ventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (a part of your brain).
This is like the nerve center of yawns!
There are many theories around why we yawn. One theory says that when relaxed, or tired, our body takes in less oxygen. As a result, yawning helps us take in more oxygen and expand our lungs.
According to an article by Professor Mark Andrews on Scientific American, our lungs actually don’t track or sense oxygen levels.
He noticed that even a fetus can yawn before the lungs are developed. He did observe that yawning happens when the brain is low in oxygen.
So, yawning might be linked to oxygen, but not in the way we first thought.
Another traditional way of thinking is that yawning happens when you’re bored. But even this theory has not shown conclusive scientific evidence.
A study asked teenagers to stare at a colored line, while they asked another group to stare at a music video!
It turns out that the colored line starers yawned more.
Another study, based around monkeys, seemed to come to the conclusion that the yawning they observed was caused by the status change or activity change in the monkeys (rather than boredom or any other of the reasons given for yawning).
More recently, in 2014, it was reported that scientists now believe that yawning is a way to cool off your brain.
When the brain gets too hot to work, we start to yawn.
According to this study, when you’re tired or fatigued, the temperature of your brain increases.
This explains why we yawn in these situations.
What is excessive yawning?
Harvard Health Publications have done studies and concluded that the typical person averages around 20 yawns per day!
Healthy individuals yawn about 20 times per day. This is more of a range than a set number. Some people yawn a bit more than 20 times a day. Other people might go days without yawning.
Anything over 5 yawns every 30 minutes is excessive yawning.
Most common causes of yawning.
- Sleepiness or tiredness (most common)
- Vitamin B-12 Deficiency
- Sleep conditions such as sleep apnea
- Increased temperature
- Side effects from certain medications
Other more serious medical conditions might be linked to yawning excessively. Again, if you are worried or notice other symptoms, it is best to consult your doctor.
Is yawning contagious?
This is the most interesting part of yawning.
We have all been there when someone else yawns, and we can’t help but follow. Some people even yawn when they see a picture of someone yawning! Or even when they read the word “yawn”.
There are no clear scientific studies on why we imitate yawning. Some theories suggest it might be an adaptation to communication and bonding.
Contagious yawning is also linked to empathy, tiredness, or energy levels.
Some research considers it a social phenomenon. This is because contagious yawning is not observed in children until after four years old.
Is there any meaning behind excessive yawning?
When some parents see their child yawning a lot, they may start to worry about the possible meaning. Does it mean my child is sick? Do they have a rare condition?
All these ideas and worries might be rushing through your head now.
There are certain conditions linked to excessive yawning. Like I mentioned before, it is best to consult your doctor.
Can we do anything about excessive yawning?
In most cases, if you notice your child yawning excessively, the first step is to make sure he/she is well-rested. This is the most common cause of yawning, and one that most scientists seem to agree with.
There are many other conditions that have been linked to yawning. If you notice this pattern continuing, I would recommend taking your child to see a doctor.
What a yawn fest!
I hope you didn’t yawn too much while reading this article.
The topic of yawning is a complex and misunderstood one, with many scientists. No one seems to be sure of the primary reasons for yawning.
We are still at the experimental phase for most of the scientific findings. In most cases, your child yawning is nothing to worry about.
If you have any expertise in this field, we would love to hear all about it in the comments section below.