I’m under the impression that sneezing is a reflex. If this is so, I think that means that the stimulus activates a neuron that sends the signal to the spinal cord, where it is propogated back out a motor neuron, effectively bypassing the brain. Since consciousness is not a necessary component for the reflex arc to work, why is it that we don’t sneeze in our sleep?
Just a WAG, but could it be because people often sleep with their mouths slightly open?
In sleep, if the body encounters some difficulty breathing through the nose, perhaps the brain automatically switches to mouth-breathing.
well, he may be right, but the explanation leaves a lot of unanswered questions, including mine. where’s qagdop the mercotan?
Q.E.D., That link contains one of the oddest and most confusing “explanations” I’ve ever seen.
Generally, any nasal or lower respiratory irritation sufficient to trigger sternutation (sneezing to you layfolks) is also sufficient to trigger wakefulness. Many allergy sufferers complain of being up sneezing all night. Many significant others of said sufferers complain of the same thing.
Others wake just long enough to sneeze, then return to sleep, losing memory of the waking event. Then they wonder why they’re so tired in the morning.
Sleep apnea studies have long documented sneezing occurring during said study, and EEGs done at the same time show bursts of wakefulness, generally quite brief, during these episodes.
You’re not kidding! When I found it, I read the first bit and thought it sounded good. I should have read all of it.