What you didn’t know about sneezing

.    Sneezing can be initiated by exposure to sunlight.

Most people are aware that certain factors can instigate a sneeze. The most commonly known factors include pepper, feathers, having the cold or the flu, or having allergies. Sunlight can also cause us to sneeze.  According to LiveScience, about one in four people sneeze as a result of exposure to sunlight. This reaction is called aphotic sneeze reflex. It is not quite clear as to why sunlight causes us to sneeze, but they believe ‘that the message the brain receives to shrink the pupils in the presence of bright light may cross paths with the message the brain receives to sneeze.’


2.    A sneeze can travel up to 100 miles per hour and can land pretty far away. 

According to some researchers, a sneeze, otherwise known as an involuntary respiratory convulsion, can launch mucus from the nostril at 100 miles per hour. This means that it can land about 30 feet from the initial location.

3.    Despite the myth, your heart does not stop when you sneeze.

The idea that your heart stops while you sneeze is simply a myth. Your heart does not stop nor does it skip a beat. What may happen is the heart rate may slow down, but only by a very small amount and for a very short period of time that lasts as long as the sneeze. This happens because people tend to take a deep breath before they sneeze. The vagus nerve also becomes stimulated during a sneeze. This can also cause the heart rate to slow down for a second. However, this is so minimal that most people don’t even realize it.

4.    Why do we sneeze? So our noses can reboot.

Researchers did a study back in 2012 to figure out why we sneeze. They were able to come to a conclusion about why we sneeze, and what is meant to happen when we do. According to ScienceDaily, “Much like a temperamental computer, our noses require a "reboot" when overwhelmed, and this biological reboot is triggered by the pressure force of a sneeze. When a sneeze works properly, it resets the environment within nasal passages so "bad" particles breathed in through the nose can be trapped. The sneeze is accomplished by biochemical signals that regulate the beating of cilia (microscopic hairs) on the cells that line our nasal cavities.”

5.    It is impossible to keep your eyes open during a sneeze.  

Your eyes close involuntarily when you sneeze. It is impossible to control. Closing your eyes is part of the message that the brain receives leading up to a sneeze. It's an involuntary reflex, so be careful if you’re driving and you feel a sneeze coming on.

6.    People often sneeze in twos or threes.

People often sneeze in twos or threes, or even more. This is because sneezes are not expelled from our system on the first attempt. Sneeze particles get trapped in the nasal passages and it can often take more than one attempt to get them out, leading to multiple consecutive sneezes.