Can You Sneeze In Your Sleep? Possible Or Not?


The likelihood of a reflex response revealing itself while sleeping appears remote. A sneeze is a reaction that is generally prompted by external stimuli, whereas sleep is a tranquil condition of the body. When you’re sleeping, your body is less likely than when you’re awake to respond to outside stimuli.

When you’re sleeping, you’re less likely to hear a delicate whisper or feel a soft touch on your hand, but a loud crash or a violent shake may bring you up. Similarly, a powerful enough stimulant near your nose may cause you to wake up and sneeze.

Why do we sneeze?

Sneezing (sternutation) is your body’s way of clearing your nostrils. When particles enter your nostrils, they can irritate and irritating your nasal airways.

Nerve impulses are transmitted to your brain stem as a natural response to inform your nose to get rid of invading particles before they reach your lungs and make you sick.

Sneezing is commonly caused by the following substances:

  • dander from animals
  • bacteria
  • dirt
  • dust
  • mold
  • perfumes and other scents
  • pollen
  • smoke
  • viruses

Other probable causes of sneeze include exposure to strong light and brow plucking. Some of the same neurons are considered to be triggered in these circumstances, triggering your body’s natural instinct to sneeze.

You may feel a sneeze coming on because your body is preparing your nose for action. Take a deep breath and notice how your abdomen and chest muscles tense. Close your eyes and press your tongue on the roof of your mouth just before you sneeze.

When you sneeze, your nose expels mucus, air, and saliva with great power in order to expel the irritating particles. This is why sneezing into a tissue is so vital. Sneeze into your elbow if you don’t have one to avoid spreading germs.

Excess mucus is sometimes left behind, and you must blow your nose to get rid of it. In the case of allergies, allergens that become caught in your nose may cause you to sneeze. A decongestant and an antihistamine may help provide some comfort.

There’s a good reason you’ve been instructed not to hold back your sneezes. Preventing sneezing does not allow your body to get rid of particles caught in your nose. Stifling your sneezes may potentially make you ill or cause sinus inflammation.

Does Sleep Help You Sneeze?

Your mucous membranes swell when you lie on your sides, back, or stomach, which is one of the situations that causes a sneeze. However, sleep specialists and neuroscientists believe that sneezing is not feasible when sleeping.

Nighttime sleep typically consists of four to six sleep cycles, each with four stages—three of which are Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) and one of which is Rapid Eye Movement (REM) (REM). NREM sleep accounts for 75% of total sleep duration, with REM sleep accounting for the remaining 25%.

  • Stage 1: This is a light sleeping stage in which you are easily disturbed. Your eyelids move slowly, and your muscles begin to relax and contract.
  • Stage 2: Your eye movement ceases, and your body temperature and heart rate decrease as your body prepares for deep sleep. During this period, brain waves also begin to slow.
  • Stage 3: During this stage, blood pressure decreases and slow-moving brain waves, known as delta waves, are mixed with fast brain waves, kicking off the process of deep sleep. You feel bewildered when you wake up at this point.
  • REM sleep: During this stage, the eyelids stay closed, but the eyeballs move from side to side regularly. Brain waves imitate responses to waking activity or dreams—your brain is awake while your body sleeps. During this period, the majority of dreams occur. Because your brain is awake, you tend to recall your dreams. However, your body is sleeping during this period, resulting in REM atonia, which prevents sneezing.

Atonia is a medical disease in which the muscle loses all of its strength. Your body is sleeping, your muscles are relaxed, and just your brain is awake in REM atonia.During this stage, even neurotransmitters are turned off, so even if an allergen or particle enters your nasal cavity and reaches the mucous membranes, it does not activate the neurotransmitter histamine. Due to a lack of histamines, it is difficult to elicit a sneeze during REM sleep.

There is no atonia during NREM sleep—technically, a sneeze may be caused during this phase. However, the cerebral cortex and thalamus regions of the brain continue to activate each other throughout this period to inhibit sensory reflexes like as sneezing. You don’t normally feel hungry, thirsty, or the need to relieve yourself when sleeping, and you certainly don’t feel the need to sneeze. However, intense stimuli may occasionally wake you up during the NREM stage, resulting in a sneeze.

Because your surroundings does not change while you sleep, the possibilities of powerful external stimuli unexpectedly entering your nose canal are reduced. When you’re unwell, you may sneeze during NREM sleep, but you usually wake up to sneeze.

Do children sneeze while sleeping?

It is a frequent myth that young toddlers may sneeze while sleeping. If you hear a sleeping kid sneeze, they are most likely in a light sleep cycle and are already half awake.

It’s also a common misperception that children sleep less than adults. The main distinction is that newborns and young children sleep longer, resulting in a greater number of sleep cycles that may be shorter in duration.

By creating a pattern, you may help your kid develop healthy sleeping habits from an early age.

How can I test my sneeze reflex while sleeping?

The sneeze reflex is a strong impulse to sneeze that might wake you up during NREM sleep. You may keep these temptations at bay by keeping your bedroom tidy and cleaning frequently. Never sleep with clothing on your bed, and wash your linens and pillows on a regular basis, especially during allergy season. All of this keeps allergies, pollens, dust mites, and other sneeze-inducing particles out of your bedroom, lowering the likelihood of foreign particles entering your nasal canal.

When you sneeze, does your heart stop?

Sneezing does not stop the electrical activity in your heart. However, when you sneeze, your body’s intrathoracic pressure rises, resulting in a reduction in blood flow to the heart. Your heart adjusts its pulse to accommodate for the increased blood flow, but it does not totally halt.

Can you cough or sneeze while sleeping?

In deep or REM sleep, you cannot cough or sneeze; but, in light sleep, you may. To cough or sneeze, your body must enter a state of awake, even if it is so brief that you are unaware of it. Coughing or sneezing often during sleep might cause daytime weariness because it hinders deeper, more restful sleep.

Photo taken in Madrid, Spain


According to research, it is not feasible to sneeze while sleeping. However, there are many periods of sleep in which the mental state shifts between degrees of consciousness and the physical body changes.

Sleep phases are divided into two categories. These are known as REM and NREM.

REM sleep causes the body to shut down and the muscles to paralyze. It is impossible to sneeze since the muscles are not actively working. During this stage, only the eye and breathing muscles are active.

As children’s sleep cycles mature, they are more prone to move during the night. As a result, they may be more likely than adults to sneeze while sleeping.

  • July 1, 2022