When we are asleep you do not sneeze.  A sneeze is the reaction of a stimulated motor neuron and if there is enough of a stimuli one will wake up before you sneeze.

When you sleep is determined by which neurotransmitters are binding to which receptors on different nerve cells or neurons in the brain Neurons at the base of the brain stop neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and norepinephrine, that keep us awake from binding to neurons in the brainstem. The chemical adenosine also contributes to when you want to sleep by building up in blood causing us to feel drowsy.

When we sleep we enter four stages that cycle throughout the night.  We start at stage 1, light sleep, eyes move very slowly and muscle activity slows or you experience sudden muscle contractions called hypnic myoclonia. It is easy to awaken in this stage and so if an irritant is stimulating a sneeze reflex, you wake up before sneezing. In stage 2, eye movement stops and our brain waves become slower. Although brain activity is slowing we can still wake up in time to sneeze.  In stage 3 and 4, deep sleep, our brain waves are very slow, there is no eye movement, and no muscle activity.  It is very unlikely to wake up to sneeze in these stages of sleep to sneeze because brain activity is low and the medulla, which controls sneezing is relaxing.  During these stages of sleep breathing slows and body temperature lowers, partly because these are also controlled by the medulla, which is relaxing.

So tonight you can sleep soundly knowing you wont sneeze unless you suddenly wake up in time to achooo!





Some myths and clarifications about sneezing

Beliefs from around the world!
During the middle ages in Europe, one’s life was tied to one’s breath and expelling it as a sneeze led people to believe it was fatal, and so the response was, “God bless you”. Germans say “Gesundheit” after a sneeze which means ‘good health’, recognizing it as a mere sign of coming down with illness.

In Eastern Asia, sneezing is considered a sign of being talked about. It is believed that the person sneezing is being mentioned by someone in some part of the world! The number of sneezes is as important. One sneeze means the discussion about you is good; two sneezes mean the discussions could be negative.

In France, when one sneezes, they say ‘May your dreams come true’ – so sneezing is a lucky charm for the French. Three sneezes in succession in Holland mean it’s going to be a sunny day tomorrow!

Superstitions associated with sneezing:
In northern parts of India, sneezing before stepping out of the house or at the onset of a new task or journey is considered ill luck. Whereas, in the western parts of India, sneezing means that someone is thinking about you. For the married women, it is believed that it is their mother-in-law who’s thinking about them. Somewhat creepy…right?

In the Badaga community of the Tamils in India, it is considered a good omen if the father sneezes before the umbilical cord has been cut when the baby is born. In some parts of India, it is also believed that while talking about something if someone nearby sneezes, then there is a strong possibility of your talks or thoughts coming true. In West Bengal, it is called ‘Shotti hachi’ meaning if someone sneezes while a person is talking about something it will come true, whether good or bad. This idea is also shared in some parts of south India, especially Karnataka.

In the other parts, like Tamil Nadu and Kerala, it is considered inauspicious to sneeze upon an idea or journey, just like the north Indians; though a subsequent sneeze cancels the effect of the first one.

Here is a Japanese superstition about sneezing. If you sneeze once, people think that somebody is gossiping about the person and it is good one. If it happens twice, that turns to be bad gossip, and even more in third time sneeze.

Other Cultural Myths

Connections between sneezing and spiritual peril account for concerns in many cultures. From Ireland to Mexico to England, sneezing myths differ only over whether a sneeze might let the soul out or evil spirits in. Many myths suggest that this – and not the spreading of fluids or sickness – accounted for the custom of putting the hand over the mouth when sneezing.

A neighbor claimed that her Mexican grandmother crossed her first and second fingers in a primitive cross when she sneezed to protect her soul from escaping. Whether you are wishing for health or help from God, the salutations surely are indications of the myths behind the reflexive wish.

Some myths defy classification. Lawrence reports that, according to Welsh folklore, a cat’s sneeze forecasts a cold summer and snow in the winter. In Sussez, a cat’s sneeze meant bad luck for someone in the house. Lawrence also notes that both Polynesians and Native Americans share the same belief that someone is talking about them if people sneeze. At one time, Irish people saw sneezing in infants as a sign that they were breaking a fairy spell.

Now, onto the topic that everybody should be excited about! Orgasms and Sneezing! Oh yeah!

According to one myth, there is a correlation between sneezing and orgasms. A magic number of sneezes is equal to an orgasm. So sneezing could give you a pleasurable feeling. But, don’t go around forcing sneezing to get that feeling! Haha!

Summarized Words from Dr. Mark McMahon, a San Francisco dentist who doubles as a standup comic on sneezing and sex: sneezing is better than sex. It’s a mini-instant orgasm. You keep your clothes on, you don’t get involved, you can do it in public, and when you are done, total strangers bless you with a big smile on their faces.

Woman: (sneezes and moans several times)

Man: “Excuse me, but is everything OK?”

Woman: “Yes, it’s just that I have this condition where every time I sneeze I have an orgasm.”

Man: “Are you taking anything for it?”

Woman: (smiling) “Yes. Pepper.”


It’s not true that your heart stops when you sneeze. When your chest contracts because of a sneeze, your blood flow is momentarily constricted as well. As a result, the rhythm of your heart may change, but it definitely doesn’t stop.