Does Your Heart Stop When You Sneeze?

Since we opened general questions feature to the public, people have been sending us crazy questions that have to do with science and technology, and really just about anything. We take the questions that we get and try to pick the most interesting questions out of the bunch.

You have questions? Let us know! and We’ll try to answer them to the best of our ability.

This week’s question comes from Travis J. he said:

I heard that your heart stops when you sneeze, is this true?

The answer is NO, Your heart does not stop when you Sneeze.

A sneeze, or Sternutation (the scientific word), is actually started when your nostril nerve endings get a small tingling sensation that sends an automatic message to the brain that says it needs to get rid of something irritating the inside of your nostrils. This is usually caused by dust, pollen, or any other type of possible “threat” to your lungs.

The whole myth started because some people’s blood pressure in their chest go up due to the pressure of air in their lungs. This increase in blood pressure actually causes the heart to take a bit longer to release the next beat. But your heart never actually “stops” pumping, or “beating.” A lot of people claim that the reason they say “god bless you” after a sneeze is because god gave them a second chance by starting their heart again.

I’m not exactly sure where the saying of  “god bless you” originated but many people  believe that it originated during the bubonic plague. One of the symptoms of the bubonic plague was sneezing, and people would say “God Bless You!” in hopes that the power of the lord would protect them from dying.

Here is a little fact about “Sternutating”: Once your brain receives the signal that it needs to sneeze, there is no way of stopping it, the air is sometimes pushed out of your lungs at speeds that exceed over 90 MPH. That’s why It’s a bad idea to hold your sneezes in, the pressure build up is so intense that holding your sneeze in can actually create an Air bubble that can travel to your heart… and THAT can cause your heart to really stop.

So, how do you like that?