Sneezing is often believed to be an involuntary action. Generally, people understand that merely our nose and throat are involved in this blaring reflex, that is, sneezing. But the process behind a sneeze is much diverse, and it consists of a lot more than our nose and throat and our brain and muscles.

How To Make Yourself Sneeze
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How To Make Yourself Sneeze

However, sometimes you can feel a sneeze coming but cannot get it out – we’ve all been through that. To explain, sneezing is our body’s way to get rid of these foreign particles out of our nasal passages.

To sort through this, read on how you can induce sneezing instantly.

Why Do People Sneeze?

First, let us understand the various causes of sneezing.

To put it simply, foreign particles such as dust, pollen, and more enter your nasal passage and proceed to travel to your stomach. These are then neutralized by stomach acid. This was the generic pathway of foreign particles entering your system through the throat or nose.

During a sneeze, these foreign particles end up irritating the membrane present in the throat and nose. This irritates and stimulates the trigeminal nerve and directs the brain to induce sneezing.

The Trigeminal Nerve

The term will come up many times when you attempt to understand the various factors and ways with the help of which you can sneeze. Hence, it is important we first understand it.

It is a nerve divided into three and is present in our heads. This nerve is responsible for signaling sensations – pain, hotness or coldness, and any touch.

How To Make Yourself Sneeze

For instance, when your body cannot sneeze involuntarily, you can opt for a few ways to get that sneeze out. Read on the following ways in which you can trigger sneezing.

1. Breathe in Cold Air

One of the ways through which you can make yourself sneeze is to inhale cold air. You can do it by either getting out in the cold, windy weather or breathing in some cold air from the refrigerator right next to you.

Cold air works because your nose’s lining faces some irritation when the cold air hits it, and hence, you sneeze.

2. Feather

Use a feather to induce sneezing
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A tickling sensation in your nose can make you sneeze as well. The go-to option for this is a light feather. Other than this, you can use anything light and tickle your nose internally. Take care about not poking anything sharp or blunt.

Psst! You can also use a fake feather and save yourself from hunting down a natural one.

3. Look At Light

Look at light
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Another method to make yourself sneeze is to look at bright light immediately. This method works best when you feel a sneeze stuck somewhere and cannot get it out. Looking at bright light will help you sneeze directly – be it a stark LED or even the brightly shining sun.

The action of sneezing when you look at light is termed as Photic Sneeze Reflex (PSR). This is because the trigeminal nerve is present right around the optic nerve.

4. Roll a Tissue

This is an alternate of point number two, the feather. In this method, you roll a soft tissue into a pointed edge and move it up and down one nostril. Make sure that you only tickle it and not do it vigorously. This method too helps trigger your trigeminal nerve.

5. Sniff Strong Smell

Sniff strong smell
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This method has been the reason for many unplanned sneezes for most of us. To sneeze easily with this method, you can take a quick whiff of any strong-smelling substance. Standard options include crushed red pepper, strong perfumes, ground black pepper, or smelling spices.

This works because when you sniff on something which smells strongly, it actually triggers your nerve endings, which are basically servers located in your mucous membrane.

6. Rub The Roof of Your Mouth

Rubbing the roof of your mouth with your tongue’s tip placed on the roof and then find a specific spot that will cause a sneeze reflex. Such tongue placement will help induce a sneeze if done gently and with patience. This method is supported by the fact that the trigeminal nerve runs along your throat, and the acting of rubbing your tongue over it will cause you to sneeze.

7. Plucking Nostril/Eyebrow Hair

So far, with all the methods mentioned, the one thing that has been made clear is that to cause a sneeze reflexively, you need to stimulate the trigeminal nerve.

So, a method that works wonders but comes with some pain is plucking your eyebrow hair or nose hair. Plucking out nasal hair or eyebrow hair will stimulate the trigeminal nerve and cause you to sneeze.

8. Eat Some Dark Chocolate

Eat some dark chocolate
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While this may sound like a great way to sneeze for those who love dark chocolates, it works better and efficiently for people who do not eat it as often.

An enjoyable way to make yourself sneeze is to have a generous bite of delicious dark chocolate or anything which contains extra cocoa, for that matter.

This method may not necessarily work, but hey, what’s wrong with trying when you can eat chocolate?

9. Fizz It Up

Get yourself a good bottle of a fizzy drink and pop it open. The carbon dioxide inhaled from a freshly opened carbonated drink will cause a tingling sensation in your nose. Even drinking a carbonated beverage may have the same effect.

Who knew fizzy drinks have benefits?

10. Tilt Your Head Back

This one is straightforward – gently tilt your head back when you can sense a sneeze coming in.

11. Massage Your Nose

Slowly massage the bridge of your nose in the down direction to generate some response from the trigeminal nerve. You can also gently pinch your nose – it varies from person to person.

12. Chewing Gums

Preferably it would be best if you opted to chew on a strong mint-flavored gum. Chewing on minty gum will overstimulate the trigeminal nerve and will result in a sneeze.

These were the few simple ways that you can follow to help you sneeze.

Have You Ever Wondered Why Sneezing Generates A Sense of Relief?

The action of sneezing involves your abdominal muscles, the back, throat, nose, and most importantly, your brain. At the same time, sneezing also releases Endorphins, which are chemicals that are released and then react with receptors present in your brain. This generates an overall positive feeling within you.

Other than feeling happy, sneezing also helps clear out any nasal congestion. Talking about congestions, people who are suffering from a common cold or flu may find it easier to stimulate the trigeminal nerve because the mucus will help retain the irritation.

People may not have thought too deeply about the simple reflex of sneezing, but it is a vital activity that helps keep us healthy, as it gets rid of unwanted dusty particles.

What Not To Do When You Feel Like Sneezing

While in this article we will majorly be talking about how you can make yourself sneeze, we must also cover what must not be done when you feel the urge to sneeze.

Use a tissue when sneezing
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1. Never Hold A Sneeze In

The most important thing to keep in mind is to never attempt to hold a sneeze in. When done for a longer time, this will cause an adverse effect on your blood vessels and nerves. In severe cases, it may even also end up bursting your nasal passages.

2. Sneeze on A Tissue

During a cold or flu, sneezing may cause some burning sensation along your throat due to the presence of a cough. What you can do is, sneeze on a tissue and soothe your throat with some warm water. Make sure to discard the used tissue, as sneezing is merely a reflex to kick out unwanted particles from your throat and nose.

3. Avoid Covering your Mouth And Nose With Hands While Sneezing

Another thing that we sneeze is covering our mouth and nose with our hands. Pull that hand away! When you cover a sneeze with your hands, you are actually getting in contact with the germs your body was trying to get rid of.

The Final Note

While some struggle to get a sneeze out, there are some who are extremely sensitive to certain smells such as hot peppers and other spices, a weather change, and an allergic reaction to pollen or something which does not suit them. This kind of sneezing problem needs professional medical advice.

The mentioned methods can help you to start sneezing when you can feel a sneeze stuck somewhere in. But the fact remains that different method works for different people. While some people sneeze when exposed to cold air, some with strong perfume. The exact reason for this stands to be that different bodies react to irritants differently, and somebody’s sneeze has a different trigger from others.

There you go, these are the various ways that can help you understand how to make yourself sneeze.


While at times contributed by guest authors, our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students. 

Do note that any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.


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