Why do we only sneeze when we are awake?


I’m sick in bed. I can sleep 8 hours without sneezing at all but as soon as I wake up my sneezing machine turns on and I can’t stop it for a while. Just wondering why I can’t distribute my sneezes during the night.

In: Biology

You can’t sneeze during deep sleep or during the REM phase because all of the nerves telling your brain that you should sneeze, are also asleep. Your brain activity changes completely during these phases of sleep and that also changes the signals your brain receives.


The part of your brain that causes you to sneeze (and cough) is shut down at night. Presumably this is so you don’t wake yourself up or asfixiate by sneezing or coughing up something into your throat that you can’t deal with because you’re asleep (and potentially on your back)



How do you know you don’t?

It may be so uncommon that people think we can’t, but I have woken myself up from a solid sleep with sneezes, when I’m sick.