All it takes is one person’s yawn to make everyone else follow suit in the office. This is a universal phenomenon, known as contagious yawning. This can affect productivity in the workplace by making employees lazy and sleepy. It also gives the idea to your bosses, that you’re bored.
We got in touch with experts Dr. Mohsin Wali, cardiologist and a former honorary physician to the president of India and Dr. Veenu Mattu, general physician, who explain the causes of excessive yawning, and how to prevent it while at work.
Why do you yawn?
1) At times, we yawn to increase to increase the oxygen supply in our blood.
2) It can also be a signal that your body is tired or needs sleep.
3) It’s an indicator of boredom. Hence, if you consistently yawn at your workplace, it gives the impression that you’re not interested in your work.
4) We yawn to regulate the temperature of our brain.
5) Sometimes we yawn because we see the other person yawning.
Excessive yawning can be a symptom of…
2) Insomnia or sleep apnea
3) Stress and anxiety
4) Vasova gal syncope. This happens when the vagus nerve in the body doesn’t function properly. The reason for this is internal bleeding in and around the heart area or aorta
5) Malfunctioning liver
6) Hyperglycemia aka high blood sugar
7) Hyperthyroidism. This is a condition where your thyroid gland overproduces hormones.
How to avoid an embarrassing yawn at work
1) Take deep breaths through your nose and exhale out through your mouth.
2) Cool your body. Drink a cool beverage to curb excessive yawning. Whenever, you feel the need to yawn, take a sip.
3) Try to keep yourself in a cool environment. Sometimes we yawn in excess because our brain temperature becomes warm.
4) Snack on foods like watermelon and cucumber as they are coolants.
5) At times, you can also use a cool compress. If you have a meeting to attend and you want to make sure that you don’t yawn, then put a cool compress on your head. This should keep your brain temperature cool so you don’t yawn during meetings.