Excessive yawning and thermoregulation: two case histories of chronic, debilitating bouts of yawning

Abstract

Background

This report details the case histories of two women who suffer from chronic and debilitating episodes of excessive yawning in the absence of sleep problems.

Methods

Each woman independently provided information and answered questions about their excessive yawning symptoms and medical histories.

Results

Both women show signs of thermoregulatory dysfunction, and each reports symptom relief and/or the postponement of yawning attacks through means of behavioral cooling. One woman recorded her body temperature before and after bouts of yawning, revealing a significant drop in temperature following each episode (p < 0.05).

Conclusions

The trigger for yawning in these patients appears to be related to increases in body/brain temperature. These cases are consistent with growing evidence showing that recurrent episodes of excessive yawning are not necessarily associated with a sleep disorder, but rather may be indicative of thermoregulatory dysfunction.

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Correspondence to Andrew C. Gallup.

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Gallup, G.G., Gallup, A.C. Excessive yawning and thermoregulation: two case histories of chronic, debilitating bouts of yawning. Sleep Breath 14, 157–159 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11325-009-0287-x

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Keywords

  • Brain cooling
  • Sleep disorder
  • Thermoregulation
  • Yawning