Can you sneeze while asleep?

by Dillon -

Have you ever wondered if you can sneeze while asleep? It’s definitely not the kind of question most people ask themselves when they wake up in the morning.

Usually, you might sneeze as a result of your body ejecting an allergen or as a response to a virus. Neither allergens nor viruses care if you’re asleep, so surely you can sneeze while asleep?

Why do we sneeze?

Sneezing is a natural reflex to help clear your nose when your body detects particles that cause itching or irritation. There are many things that cause sneezing such as:

  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Dirt
  • Viruses
  • Smoke

When your body detects irritation in your nose or nasal passages, your natural sneeze reflex is activated. When you sneeze your nose pishes out mucus, air, and saliva at high speed to get rid of the irritation. This high-speed jettisoned mucus and saliva can travel large distances. A sneeze can travel up to 8 meters (27ft), so it’s important to sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.

Can I sneeze while asleep?

In short, no.

While asleep, the nerves responsible for sending signals to the brain to trigger a sneeze are also “asleep”. During REM sleep, your brain doesn’t receive information about irritations, so no action is taken. This cant be said for light sleep though.

What other functions are suppressed during sleep?

Sneezing isn’t the only bodily function that is suppressed during sleep. Others include:

  • Hiccups
  • Hunger
  • Thirst
  • Needing to go to the toilet


You can only sneeze while awake or in a very light cycle of sleep.


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