Is it fact or myth that our heart stops beating for moments when we sneeze? If it is fact, what drives the heart to start beating again?


1 Answer 1


Both your linked fact from the University of Arkansas

When you sneeze, the intrathoracic pressure in your body momentarily increases. This will decrease the blood flow back to the heart. The heart compensates for this by changing its regular heart beat momentarily to adjust. However, the electrical activity of the heart does not stop during the sneeze.

...as well as your 'myth' from webMD

For instance, it's not true that your heart stops when you sneeze. When your chest contracts because of a sneeze, your blood flow is momentarily constricted as well. As a result, the rhythm of your heart may change, but it definitely doesn't stop.

...come to the same conclusion, namely the heart does not stop during a sneeze.

  • $\begingroup$ Isn't the length of a sneeze less than the time between resting heartbeats, at least for most healthy people? So it seems odd to say that the heart would stop. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Jun 23, 2015 at 17:36

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