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"Can you stop breathing while dreaming and die?"


In my dream I began crying uncontrolably. All the crying caused me to begin hyperventilating & gasping for air (still in my dream) I remember waving frantically at the female figure in my dream to help. My boyfriend woke me up sitting me straight up. When I woke up I was hysterical still thinking I was dreaming & really couldnt breath. My mouth was closed & my nose was so stuffed from crying I couldn't breathe. I was now awake choking gasping for air. My body did not allow my mouth to open while I was sleeping. I'm wondering that if my boyfriend hadn't of sat me up causing me to wake up would/ could I have died from not being able to breathe. he said it looked like I was having a seizure in my sleep so he reacted


Thank you for your question. While the short answer to this is that it would be extremely unlikely for anyone to die in their sleep from not being able to breathe because of a dream or anything else, your own doctor would be able to answer this question better than anyone else. He or she would have the most information about your other medical history and what concerns that might be in your situation.

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It is quite unlikely that you actually would die in your sleep in this fashion, as the body is prepared and has a number of defense mechanisms to prevent against this. Just like with seizures, when all other systems shut down, the brain stem, the most basic control unit of the central nervous system, will usually keep the breathing going. In fact, the loss of consciousness may be one method in which the brain is able to shut down other competing activities to improve the essential functions. Please speak with your doctor more about this question, and to complete further testing if it is necessary.

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