Does Your Heart Stop When You Sneeze?

You already know how it feels to sneeze – you feel that insidious tickle in the back of your nose first followed by the gasping intake of breath and a cathartic blast in the end. Anything that irritates your nasal passages can make you sneeze. Irritation in your nasal passages signals the brain, and then your body responds by coordinating the muscles in your nasal passages to expel air forcefully. There are several myths and interesting facts associated with sneezing. Some people say sneezing makes your heart stop. Is it true? 

Does Your Heart Stop When You Sneeze?

The simple answer is no! Sneezing does not make your heart stop. There is an increase in the intrathoracic pressure when you sneeze. When this happens, the blood flow to your heart is decreased. This in turn makes your heart change its regular heartbeat for a short time to adjust. What it means is that your heart does not stop when you sneeze, and actually there is a change in the rhythm of your heartbeat, which may make you feel as if your heart has skipped a beat. Does your heart stop when you sneeze? Now you know the answer.

6 Interesting Facts About Sneezing

Does your heart stop when you sneeze? This is just one of many myths associated with sneezing. Here is more about some other facts about sneezing.

1. No Sneezing with Eyes Open

Have you ever wondered why you just can't keep your eyes open while sneezing? Your eyes reflexively close every time you have a sneezing episode, and experts have different explanations for this. Some believe it is an evolutionary adaptation mainly to protect your eyes from anything that comes out of your nose or mouth because of sneezing. Others are of the view that it happens due to muscle contraction. Whatever the case, the old wives' tale about eyelids closing to protect your eyes from popping out is certainly not true.

2. Sneezing and Your Personality

Many people do not know it, but sneezing can tell something about your inner self. Experts have identified four types of sneezes and they believe each type reveals something about that person. For instance:

  • The "Correct" is extremely careful when sneezing. These people cover their mouths when sneezing and are respectful of others. Dignity is very important for such folks.
  • The "Supporter" does not sneeze on others and always tries to hold in sneezes. This shows that the person is a caring and quiet character.
  • The "Expressive" does not usually care about people around him or her, and makes a loud noise when sneezing. This kind of people may even sneeze multiple times at once, representing a dominating and showy personality.
  • The "Driver" sneezes quickly and usually does not care about how loud he or she sneezes. This type of people are usually direct and forward thinkers.

3. Many Factors Can Cause Sneezing

You may think only pollen and pepper can make you sneeze, but the truth is many factors can make you sneeze.

Pollen, dust, and pepper are the usual culprits, but you may sneeze when you sniff pungent aromas. Any change in temperature, especially colder air can make you sneeze. You may also sneeze while plucking your eyebrows mainly because it irritates the nerves connected to your nose. Some people may also sneeze while popping pimples or rubbing their eyes. Many people even sneeze when they are exposed to bright lights, and this is due to an inherited trait called photic sneezing.

4. Sneezes Travel Fast

Research shows that the spit and particles you emit when sneezing can travel up to 5 feet. It is also possible for sneezes to travel up to a hundred miles per hour. It means that you can infect a person standing 150 feet away from you when you sneeze forcefully. This is the reason why it is very important to cover your nose and mouth to avoid infecting others around you. 

5. Sneezing and Superstitions

Interestingly, a lot of superstitions are associated with sneezes. This question "Does your heart stop when you sneeze" is one of them. The ancient Greeks and Romans were of the view that sneezing to the right would bring you luck, whereas something bad would happen for sneezing to the left. Some people say "bless you" when they hear someone sneeze, while others may say "to your health" in the same situation. Those people believe that sneezing is your soul's way to leave your body, but it crams back in when someone says "bless you".

6. No Sneezing in Sleep

The mucous membranes swell when you lie down, which makes you more sensitive to the dust particles in the air, so you are supposed to sneeze more in sleep. However, all muscles other than the ones that control your eyes become paralyzed when you enter deep sleep, including muscles that control a sneeze. During shallow sleep, the neurons that cause a sneeze are also suppressed, so you are also not likely to sneeze in shallow sleep.

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