Home > fyi > dueling reflexes: sneeze vs yawn

dueling reflexes: sneeze vs yawn

Has this ever happened to you? This morning standing in the kitchen, I felt the little tickle in my nose of a sneeze starting. But then at the same time a yawn started too. Two simultaneous involuntary diaphragm reflexes — I had a fraction of a second to wonder which would win. The answer, at least this time: the yawn won and the urge to sneeze was suppressed.

Worse was the time, years ago, I had the hiccups and felt a sneeze coming on. In that case, both reflexes did actually occur simultaneously, and I hiccuped right in the middle of the sneeze. It felt like my head imploded, and kinda made a bit of a mess! :-)

Call me weird (“You’re weird!”) but I find these sorts of physiological quirks fascinating. Somebody ought to do a show on one of those cable science channels on stuff like this.

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