Does Your Heart Stop When You Sneeze?

Sneezing is one of the body’s many defense techniques, but does your heart stop when you sneeze?

While it may only happen within a second, several parts of your body respond to a sneeze, including your heart.

When an irritant enters your nose, it may touch the sensitive lining of your nasal cavity.

This sends an electric signal to your brain, telling it you must sneeze. Your body will prepare for the sneeze by contracting your muscles and shutting your eyes.

During a sneeze, your heart rate is alerted slightly in response to the built-up pressure in your chest. 

This post will help you understand whether your heart stops when you sneeze. Let’s dive into the science behind sneezing first. 

How Sneezing Works

Particles and contaminants, from smoke, pollution, and perfume to dander and mold, float around the air.

When you inhale, a foreign particle or contaminant speck may enter your nose. And it may interact with the tiny hairs and sensitive skin lining your nasal passage.

When a particle touches the delicate lining of your nostrils, it sends an electric signal to your brain. This tells your brain that there’s something in your nose, so it needs to clear itself.

Your brain alerts your body to an imminent sneeze, allowing it to prepare for the impending contraction.

Your muscles contract for the sneeze, and your eyes may shut. Also, your tongue may touch your mouth’s roof.

That sequence occurs within seconds of a foreign particle entering your nose. And by the end, water, mucus, and air are ejected from your nose.

Does Your Heart Stop When You Sneeze?

It’s commonly believed that your heart stops when you sneeze. However, that isn’t the case.

Sneezing doesn’t send electric signals to your heart, which would allow it to control the heart’s movements. Instead, signals travel to your brain. 

The Role Of The Heart During Sneezing

Knowing the role of the heart during sneezing can help you understand whether your heart stops when you sneeze.

During a sneeze, the pressure in your chest increases. This triggers the vagus nerve, which connects your brain and abdomen and is responsible for reflex functions such as sneezing. The nerve also controls your heart.

Therefore, when you sneeze, the blood flow to your heart changes, which slightly alters your heart rate.

However, once the sneeze passes, your heart rate returns to normal shortly afterward.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.) I’m Sneezing Too Much. What Should I Do?

Making some lifestyle changes can prevent you from sneezing constantly. Identify and avoid triggers like spicy food, bright light, or allergens.

Alternatively, change your furnace’s filters and kill dust mites on sheets and other linens by washing them in hot water. Buying an air filtration machine to purify the air in your home may also be helpful.

2.) What Happens If You Sneeze With Your Eyes Open?

You may have heard that your eyeballs will pop out of their sockets if you sneeze with your eyes open. However, that isn’t true.

Most of the time, sneezing automatically closes your eyes. To sneeze without shutting your eyes would take a concentrated effort.

3.) What Will Happen If You Stifle A Sneeze?

Stifling a sneeze won’t cause significant bodily injury. However, you may feel pressure in your face and forehead, and your eardrums may pop.

It’s always best to let a sneeze out because your body is trying to protect you from an irritant in your nose.


Sneezing is a natural bodily function. Although it’s popularly believed, your heart doesn’t stop when you sneeze. Instead, the pressure change in your chest alters the blood flow to your heart and heart rate.

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