Six Fascinating Facts About Sneezing

sneezeAhh…Ahhh…ah-CHOO! As randomized and annoying as sneezing can be, it can actually offer some answers about our body.

What’s The Reason For Your Sneezin’?

For starters, why do we sneeze in the first place? For years, the reasoning has been that sneezing is simply a reflex caused when irritants like germs, dust, pollen, animal dander, or pollutants, among others, get in your nose lining, causing your brain to elicit signals to your nostrils to get rid of it. This process initiates a quick, deep inhale, causing your chest muscles to tighten as pressure builds. Your tongue pushes against the top of your mouth, shoving your explosive exhale out through your nostrils, and — Achoo!

But researchers from the department of otorhinolaryngology at the University of Pennsylvania discovered that when we sneeze, we’re rebooting– kind of like a computer often does. The research concluded that we must “reset” our nasal environment every so often, and sneezing is how we accomplish it.

Why Never Once?

You’ve probably realized before that sneezing rarely, if ever, involves just one sneeze. Usually, two or three sneezes seem to come out in rapid-fire fashion, right? The reason our bodies do this involves the reason why we often sneeze in the first place, says associate attending physician and director of the Allergy Clinic at Columbia-New York Presbyterian Medical Center, Marjorie L. Slankard, M.D. Sometimes, in order to rid your negative nose of what’s bothering it, it takes two, three, or even four sneezes.

Can You Sleep-Sneeze?

Snoring only happens in your sleep– and sneezing only happens outside of it. This is because sneezing is a reflex action– when you’re asleep, your nerves involved in sneezing relax, disrupting the process of a normal sneeze. If someone places irritants beneath your nose as you slept, though, you might wake up and sneeze– and not be too happy about it.

Does Your Heart Cease For A Sneeze?

It is completely a myth that your heart briefly stops during a sneeze. However, the pressure in our chests does change momentarily when we give an “achoo!”– because of this, your blood flow can be altered, which leads to a temporary changed rhythm of your heartbeat– but not a stopped heart altogether.

How Long Can You Sneeze?

While most people sneeze two or three times in a row for a few seconds, that’s nothing compared to little Donna Griffiths of England, who reportedly sneezed continuously from Jan. 13, 1981 (when she was 12 years old), until Sept. 16, 1983 — or a total of 978 days (nearly three years). The reason why she started sneezing for that long– and what caused her to finally stop– is still unknown.

Why Such Different Sneeze Sounds?

Some people are loud sneezers, some people are soft sneezers. Some people employ straight-and-to-the-point sneeze processes, others have long, drawn-out sneezing vocals. Some sneezes sound like a cute little mouse squeak, others sound like an overworked garbage disposal. Regardless of what your individual sneeze might sound like, the reason why sneeze sounds vary is because air moves at more than 100 miles an hour through your nostrils. With all those irritants exiting your nose at that speed, there’s no wonder you’ll make some noise, and the size of your nostrils might affect how loud the sound is.


Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.

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