Is it possible to sneeze while you are sleeping?

We don’t sneeze while sleeping. During the day, while we are awake, sneezing is normal. We sneeze because it is the way for the body to get rid of particles or allergens. People also sneeze to eliminate viruses such as the flu virus.

It wouldn’t be a huge surprise if humans sneezed while sleeping. Our mucous membranes tend to swell when we are in bed. As a result, the mucous membranes become more sensitive. While that happens, there usually isn’t as much movement or airflow to stir up irritating particles, so they aren’t very exposed to stimulants.

When we’re awake, an illness, allergies, or particles might stimulate the nerve cells in the nose. As a response, our nerves then send signals to the brain to initiate a sneeze to eliminate whatever is irritating it.

Some neurotransmitters shut down during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. It is called atonia. When this happens, your motor neurons are not stimulated. During the state of atonia, the motor neurons stop sending these signals to the brain.

There are times when sufficient external stimulus triggers the urge to sneeze. But before you would sneeze, you will wake up.

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Sneezing and the Stages of Sleep

It’s thought that nerves have a lot to do with not sneezing in your sleep. We believe that the nerves that contribute to sneezing are at rest during sleep. This is especially true during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep.

As you enter REM sleep, you aren’t conscious of the irritating or tickling sensations that would normally send nerve signals to your brain to induce a sneeze.

Sneezing during light stages of sleep may be different. If you feel the urge to sneeze while sleeping, it’s most likely because you haven’t yet entered deep sleep. It is also possible that you’re waking from a deep sleep.

The majority of the nerve signal action that influences natural reflexes such as sneezing during your waking hours happens in the brainstem. Research is being done to determine why exactly this response happens and how it’s suppressed during your sleeping hours.

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Do children sneeze in their sleep?

Some people wrongly believe that children can sneeze in their sleep. Parents may hear a child sneeze during the night, but that doesn’t mean the child is actually asleep. The child might be in a light sleep cycle and are already partially awake when sneezing.

Children are not lighter sleepers than adults. Young children indeed need more hours of sleep than adults. As a result, babies and young children have a larger number of sleep cycles that may be shorter in duration.

The best way to help your child establish healthy sleep habits is by a sleep routine.

Why we sneeze?

Sternutation (sneezing) is the way your body clears the nose. It is a simple response to getting rid of tiny particles that enter your nostrils. You have probably felt an itch before in your nose. That can happen because particles can irritate the inside of your nose.

Sneezing is a natural reflex. Nerve signals are sent to the brain. The signals tell your nose to eliminate invading particles. You sneeze to prevent these particles from entering your lungs and potentially get sick.

What causes sneezing?

There are many different types of particles that cause humans to sneeze:

  • Dirt
  • Mold
  • Viruses
  • Pollen
  • Bacteria
  • Perfumes
  • Dust
  • Smoke
  • Animal dander

People exposed to bright light might have the urge to sneeze too. We often look into the sun if we want to avoid sneezing. It is suspected that plucking your eyebrows might activate the same nerves that trigger sneezing.

Your muscles can signal that you are about to sneeze. Your body is using these muscles to prepare your nose to take action. You might deeply inhale and sense your chest and abdominal muscles contract. Some people might close their eyes and put their tongue against the roof of the mouth just before the sneeze occurs.

Your nose pushes out air, saliva, and mucus with a high velocity and force to get rid of the irritating particles when you sneeze. This is the reason it’s vital to sneeze into a tissue. If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze into your arm or elbow to minimize spreading germs.

Often, excess mucus remains, and you have to blow your nose to clear it out. If you have allergies, you may frequently sneeze due to allergens stuck in your nose. Treatment with an antihistamine and decongestant may offer some relief.

It is best not to hold back your sneezes. When you prevent a sneeze, you stop your body from removing potentially harmful particles that are stuck in the nose. You may get sick or experience sinus irritation from containing your sneezes.

Why do I sneeze before bed?

You may sleep more before bed or at bedtime if you suffer from seasonal allergies. Pollen allergies can cause people to sneeze more at night.

Pollen can stick to your skin, hair, and clothes during the day. This can result in a pollen build up in your home. Your symptoms can become worse in the evenings.

If you are susceptible to environmental allergens such as pet dander, dust mites, or dust, your symptoms might be worse before bed. There could be a build up of allergens in your mattress. That could be the reason your allergy symptoms increase at night.

How to Reduce Allergy Symptoms at Bedtime

Fortunately, you have many options to reduce allergy symptoms at bedtime.

One of the easiest preventative measures to reduce evening allergy symptoms is to take a shower. Take a shower as soon as you arrive home for the night. Because outdoor allergens stick to your hair, skin, and clothes, removing those allergens with a relaxing bath or shower as soon as you get home can reduce your symptoms.

In your bedroom, be sure your pillow and mattress are both protected by hypoallergenic covers. Hypoallergenic covers will reduce dust buildup in your mattress. Wash your curtains often. Dry your sheets on the highest setting to reduce dust related allergy symptoms.

If you own a pet, consider limiting their access to your bedroom. Pet dander is a known allergen. Keeping your pets outside your bedroom will reduce the symptoms that are caused by pet dander allergies.

If your allergy symptoms persist, you should consult with your doctor. Many people take over the counter medications to reduce allergy symptoms. Before you take anything, you should speak with your doctor to ensure your medical history is cleared for these allergy medicines.

Simple saline washes might also be effective to clear sinus congestion. You can also ask about nasal sprays. When symptoms persist after trying over the counter medicines, your doctor might prescribe medicine to combat your allergy symptoms.

For the most effective treatment, you might take allergy medications around dinnertime, so you give it time to reach peak effectiveness at bedtime.

Can you cough in your sleep?

You can’t cough in your sleep. If you are waking up from a deep sleep, you might cough. As your body enters a state of wakefulness, you can cough.


Indeed, you don’t sneeze while sleeping. Sneezing only occur during the hours you are awake. If you or one of your loved ones sneezed when you thought they were asleep, the explanation is that they haven’t really been in a deep sleep.