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Can People Die in Their Sleep?

Posted Apr 06 2010 5:35pm

You might think that it isn’t possible to die in your sleep unless there is a serious medical problem that exists. This isn’t necessarily true. People die in their sleep all of the time, and in fact, it is often the greatest hope for death that we, as humans, have. We are all going to die, and dying in your sleep seems to be the preferred method.

can people die in their sleep

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Causes People to Die in Their Sleep

Babies are people too, and they do die in their sleep. When this happens, and there is no apparent cause of death, the death is determined to be caused from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SID.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome cannot be proven. It is determined when all other possible causes of the death are ruled out, and this is a prime example of the fact that people can actually die in their sleep for no apparent reason.

Sleep Apnea Causes People to Die in Their Sleep

One health condition that can be diagnosed, and can cause people to die in their sleep is Sleep Apnea. When a person suffers from Sleep Apnea, he or she actually stops breathing while they are sleeping. Typically, within a few seconds, the person will wake up just enough to resume breathing.

Unfortunately, in some cases the person does not wake up, and they die. While research is still being done, Sleep Apnea is thought to be caused by loss of cells in the brain. As time passes, and the person ages or a health condition that causes Sleep Apnea progresses, the Sleep Apnea becomes worse, and eventually can cause their death.

Old People Die in Their Sleep

Finally, our bodies eventually wear out and we die – even if we don’t have any condition that might otherwise cause death. Old people die in their sleep more often than many of us realize, and when we talk about wanting to die in our sleep, this is generally what we are talking about – when we are very old, and our bodies are simply worn out.

Typically in the case of dying in your sleep due to old age, an autopsy can determine exactly what went wrong, or what stopped working. For example, your heart could simply get tired and stop beating, because it’s been working hard for the past eighty or ninety years.

It is important to realize that while you can die in your sleep, for a variety of reasons sleep does not cause death. Unless some type of drug or injury is involved, nobody can fall into such a deep natural sleep that they actually die.

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