Why Do I Yawn When I Sing

Why Do I Yawn When I Sing?

Have you ever been singing when suddenly you get an urge to let out an enormous yawn? Don’t worry, plenty of others have been in that same position!

We can’t help what our body makes us do, even if that means embarrassing us when a yawn disrupts our singing, but we can understand why it happens.

So, what is it exactly that is making us yawn? Of course, it doesn’t mean we are bored with singing but in fact are for a variety of other reasons.

Why you yawn when you sing [X reasons]

When you yawn, this is a deep breath taken in by your body. Despite it being seen as “lazy,” there are many reasons why you might do it. Find those reasons below.

1. Your body needs oxygen

One of the most simple reasons for yawning whilst singing is that your brain needs oxygen. When singing, you burn a lot of oxygen and the body reacts.

This reaction is yawning. When we yawn, the brain is receiving that oxygen, restoring what was burnt whilst singing. However, there are ways to sing freely and control your oxygen intake in a way which won’t cause you to yawn.

This is more of an issue while you are live. One reason singing sounds so different live from studio is that live performers don’t get a break.

2. Yawning Is contagious

Plenty of you would have heard about yawning being contagious but might only recognize it as hearsay. However, this is 100% possible, as contagious yawning is a thing.

Studies have shown that your chance of yawning increases by six times if you see someone else doing it. You might know this as “social mirroring,” which is where people imitate others just from them doing it. Next time you notice someone scratching their leg, look around to see when other people do the same.

You may perform in front of a crowd or be practicing in a studio when you spot someone yawning. Simply seeing this can be enough to get you yawning too.

3. You are moving the soft palate

When you sing, you move something known as your “soft palate.” The soft palate forms the back of your mouth, and it stretches out when you yawn.

Your soft palate also moves when you sing, causing some confusion. So, when you sing, your brain might think you are yawning. Some singers do this on purpose, as controlling your soft palate can help you with certain vocal techniques.

4. Lack of sleep (or exhaustion)

Believe it or not, not sleeping causes you to yawn. Sometimes, the answer is pretty obvious. A full night’s sleep will solve this problem in most cases.

There’s also a good chance you have been overworking yourself. If you spend too much time on your band practice and barely sit down, you’ll be tired more often.

Despite the never-ending pursuit of your dreams being an admiral reason to get up, you need a break. Nobody can go forever, even if you have an interesting goal, like being the best composer, singer, or songwriter. Of course, if you don’t know the difference between a composer and songwriter, you can read our guide.

5. Improper breathing

Breath control is a big deal with singing. After all, if you can’t breathe right, your singing won’t reach its max potential. So, alongside stretching the limits of your vocal cords, it’s time to learn proper breathing control.

You want to inhale quickly and deeply, followed by a slow and steady exhale. Professional singers understand that using their voice requires a lot of breath and energy, so bear this in mind.

6. An undiagnosed medical condition (or other medical issues)

If you yawn continuously for no obvious reason, your yawning could come from a medical condition. Given I’m not a doctor, this is something you’ll want to discuss with your doctor.

Excessive yawning can come from sleeping disorders. Sneep apnea is one where you don’t get enough oxygen while you sleep, so it makes sense to compensate during the day. There’s also narcolepsy, where you have no control over when you sleep.

Sometimes, random yawning can come as a reaction to medications you are taking. Look at your medications for related side effects.

Other extreme examples include heart attacks, neurological disorders, liver failure, brain tumors, and epilepsy. But before you panic over any of these, talk to your doctor. Since there are other side effects of all these things, this article shouldn’t be used as a tool to self diagnose.

Ways to stop yawning while singing

Ways To Stop Yawning When Singing

Despite yawning being a common occurrence for plenty of singers, there are ways to stop this from happening. Using the knowledge above, you have some good ideas of where to start.

Consistently practice good vocal techniques

For any singer, consistent practice is always key, but practice can also be beneficial for controlling your yawns as well. With regular practice, you will train your brain against yawning.

The reason people yawn is that the brain takes control. However, with plenty of practice, your brain will soon realize that your yawn reflex is unnecessary.

Practice can also help you identify good vocal techniques. For example, a better throat position is something you can better understand as a singer.

Proper breathing techniques

Singing isn’t only about the way your voice sounds but is much more. When singing, breathing is an essential aspect as it allows you to maintain the quality of sound and sing easily.

Breathing for a beginner, however, can be difficult and they are therefore most susceptible to yawning. In order to prevent the yawn, learn the correct method of breathing. Inhale air during instrumental breaks, breathe during pauses in the song.

Developing good lung control and strong abdominal muscles can help you avoid poor breathing habits. Below, you’ll see a video where you can learn a few more tips.

Develop good sleeping habits

Maybe you have an audition the next day or a live performance you need to be prepared for. Because of nerves, you may stay up later than you should or practicing too hard to the point of exhaustion.

If this is the case, then the chances of yawning during singing skyrockets. It is important to get plenty of rest, whether that is through sufficient sleep or through taking sensibly timed breaks.

A daily routine for sleep can help you avoid some of this. For a temporary fix, you can take melatonin, but avoid sleep medication if you can help it. Meditation is another habit you can use to reduce the pre-show anxiety.

Start with practice breathing sessions

Before a performance or practice run, it is very important to prepare your breathing. Use a breathing technique before you sing to prepare your lungs and prevent yawning.

One useful breathing technique is to slowly inhale for five seconds, hold your breath for two seconds, then inhale for another five seconds. Repeat this for as long as you need to before singing (we recommend doing this exercise for at least five minutes prior).

Don’t think about yawning

If you are someone who is conscious of their yawning, then it is likely that this will be on your mind. It is sensible to find the source of the problem and take initiative to better yourself, however you cannot let the thought of yawning stay in your mind.

This lingering thought will only encourage the yawns, working similarly to how yawns are contagious. Just like how if we see someone yawning, this makes us yawn. If we think about yawning, this could start it.

Should you be worried about excessive yawning?

Constant yawning may be a sign of an underlying medical condition and this will be clear to people who may be nauseous, lightheaded or have cold sweats alongside yawning. If you experience any of these additional symptoms, then it is essential to seek help and talk to a medical professional.

They may find that you have a vasovagal reaction—the vasovagal nerve’s response to overstimulation. If you have this, then the yawning won’t only be when singing but occur when speaking or whilst partaking in other activities.

It is necessary to watch out for the signs. If you are experiencing constant yawning, other symptoms alongside it and the yawning is not only when singing, then it is worth seeking advice. It could be nothing, but it is worth making sure.

Final Thoughts

It is very common for people to yawn when they sing, especially so for beginners when they haven’t learnt to master vocal control. However, this is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.

Yawning is something that you cannot always control. It can occur when we least expect it, and because of this, inevitably, we will yawn when singing.

There are several reasons for this happening—you could lack the rest you need, your brain needs oxygen, your soft palate is moving, or you could be socially mirroring a yawner in the audience.

Despite this, there are many ways to solve your yawning problem. For example, breathing exercises before singing, learn to breathe during breaks in songs and instrumentals and have plenty of practice.

Plenty of practice is enough to make the world of a difference – the more you practice, the better your breathing will be, the less you will yawn.


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