How To Stop Yawning While Singing

How To Stop Yawning While Singing

Do you find yourself yawning when you’re singing? If you do, you’re not alone, most singers yawn at some point when they’re singing. It’s also common for singers to cry and sneeze whilst singing. In this article we’ll look at why you yawn when you’re singing, how to yawn while you’re singing, why you yawn in general and most importantly, how to stop yawning while singing.

How To Stop Yawning While Singing

Yawning is a natural function, everyone yawns at some point, but it can be embarrassing if you yawn while you’re singing in front of an audience. To control the yawning you’ll need to learn some techniques. We have found the following to help control yawning whilst singing.

Deep Breathing Exercises

You need to relax, and take some deep breaths for around 10 minutes. Slowly breath in for a count of 6 and then breath out for a count of 5. Keep repeating this for 10 minutes before you start singing. This will help to fill your lungs with oxygen which will reduce the need for yawning.

Breathe Correctly While Singing

Remember to breathe while you’re singing, this is most important if you’re singing a song that runs at a fast pace, or you’re rapping or holding a long note, or a high note. Breathing correctly and remembering to breathe will help to prevent the need to yawn. 

Take extra breaths during the instrumental parts of the song, pauses in the song and take some quick breaths between lines. If you can remember to take deep breaths whenever you can, like during the instrumental break, breathing like in the exercise above, you’ll find you need to yawn less.

Relax Your Throat & Jaw While Singing

If you hold your jaw too tensely it could restrict your air intake. Which in turn, can lead to yawning. Try to relax your jaw and also your throat to increase air flow and reduce the need to yawn.

Never Look At Anyone Who’s Yawning

It’s weird, but whenever anyone yawns, and we see it, we tend to yawn as well. It really is contagious, so if you see someone about to yawn, look away immediately.

Remember To Breathe In & Out

If you don’t breathe out properly, your body will be holding on to carbon dioxide, which means no matter how deep you breathe, you won’t get enough oxygen. Before breathing in, exhale to release that CO2 you can then absorb more oxygen when you breathe in.

Concentrate On Getting Enough Sleep Before You Sing

It doesn’t matter how good you get at breathing between lines, deep breathing or exhaling CO2, unless you are getting enough sleep. Yawning can be your body’s way of telling you that you need to sleep.The only way to prevent this particular type of yawning is to ensure you get a decent night’s sleep.

Your body needs time to recover from a hard days (or nights) work and the only way it can do this is by sleeping. If you go on stage without having had enough sleep, your performance will suffer. 

Yawning

Try Not To Think About Yawning

While you’re singing, it’s important you try not to think about sleeping. This is because yawning is a reflex action, just thinking about it can bring it on. As can seeing someone else yawn cause you to yawn too.

Consult Your Doctor

In some cases persistent yawning can be caused by an underlying medical condition. Maybe it’s hereditary, if you don’t seem to be able to solve this yourself, seek medical advice.

Why Do You Yawn When Singing?

Other than tiredness, there are a number of reasons you might yawn when you’re singing. It could just be that; 

  • Your lungs need more oxygen
  • You have an iron deficiency 
  • You have a soft palate that’s adapting 
  • You’re using the correct  throat position 

Whether it’s down to a great singing technique or you’re doing something wrong it needs to be corrected. 

How Can You Correct The Problems That Cause You To Yawn?

Let’s look at the main problems in detail and see how to correct them and eradicate or at least reduce the yawning.

It’s Natural To Yawn If You Need Extra Oxygen

Singing takes a lot of energy and oxygen, you burn lots of oxygen when you sing. To replace that oxygen fast, your body might instinctively yawn as a reflex action. This is absolutely natural and usually nothing to worry about. In many cases it can be an indicator that you are adopting the correct throat position while singing.

However, that doesn’t mean you have to put up with it, it is possible to change this. The best way is to copy the yawn and draw as much air into your lungs as you can when your mouth is open. It would also be a good idea to improve your lung capacity, maybe try jogging or swimming to improve the oxygen intake of your lungs.

When You Sing, Your Soft Palate Moves

When you first start singing, it’s common to experience frequent bouts of yawning. It could be that your soft palate moves when singing, this seems especially common when singing consonants. When the soft palate lifts the messages sent to the brain don’t know whether you’re about to start singing or yawning.

This is because the soft palate moves when you sing or yawn. The brain senses the initial signal and starts a yawn. The more you practice singing, the less this will happen as the brain gets used to your singing.

The Correct Throat Position Can Cause The Yawn Reflex

Some songs need an open throat to prevent the sounds you produce sounding like you’re singing through your nose. Unfortunately, the brain cannot differentiate between the correct throat position and a yawn. This will also improve with practice as your brain will get used to what you’re trying to do.

Yawning Can Stretch Your Lungs

When you yawn, you take in far more oxygen than you usually breathe in. This stretches your lungs and helps them to keep oxygen flowing freely.

Yawning Can Cool Your Brain

If you are singing under hot lights, you will often experience a rise in your body temperature which can make your brain get hot too. Yawning can be the body’s natural protection against overheating as it will help cool you down as you inhale fresh(er) air.

Fatigue

Fatigue Can Make You Yawn When You’re Singing

Singing makes you tired, so it’s important to get a good night’s sleep before you perform. If you are over tired you’re more likely to yawn when singing. To solve this, it’s important to get enough sleep every night.

Not only can a lack of sleep cause you to yawn when you’re singing, it can also damage your lungs, vocal cords and other singing related body parts. When you sleep it gives your body a chance to repair itself, muscles, joints, cells and other parts all repair when you’re asleep. Being too tired can also affect your voice, not only can being tired affect your voice, it can also prevent you from taking in enough oxygen.

Yawning Can Indicate A Hidden Medical Problem

In general yawning is caused through fatigue, tiredness or exhaustion. But excessive yawning can also be the result of an underlying problem within your chest. Medically it’s called a “Vasovagal Reaction” which is increased activity in the vasovagal nerve. This nerve is found in the area of the chest and is connected to the brain via the abdominal cavity and the throat.

If the vasovagal nerve gets overstimulated it can cause problems with the intestines, blood vessels, heart and other internal organs. It can also cause excessive yawning whether you’re singing or not. Other symptoms include cold sweats, nausea and lightheadedness.

Narcolepsy and hypersomnia can also cause excessive yawning. Both of these conditions will cause you to sleep at inopportune moments. Excessive yawning can be an indicator of both or either of these conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do singers avoid yawning?

Singers avoid yawning by breathing correctly when singing. Deep breathing exercises before you sing help as does remembering to breathe in and out whilst singing will also help to avoid yawning.

Do singers ever yawn?

Singers do yawn, but not as often as new singers yawn. Once the brain gets used to the fact you’re singing it will yawn less.

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