Can you commit suicide while sleeping?
2010 07 09

By Melissa Dahl | MSNBC.msn.com



Suicide while sleepwalking is a real nightmare!

A man jumps out a fifth-story window. A woman marches into oncoming traffic. Another woman loads a gun and shoots herself. All appear to be open-and-shut cases of suicide, but, then again, maybe not. In rare cases, such deaths could be caused by something called parasomnia pseudo-suicide, experts say.

In other words: It’s possible to kill yourself in your sleep.

Recently, the New York Times reported on such a case. On the morning of May 30, a young, promising designer named Tobias Wong was found dead in his New York City home; he’d apparently hanged himself in the night. But Wong had a known history of insomnia and extreme sleepwalking episodes, among them billing clients, cooking a steak dinner or even creating silly outfits for his cats, the paper reported. His sleepwalking condition had apparently worsened with the stress of growing his design business.

Could his death be a tragic result of his sleepwalking?

There are documented cases of suicide while sleepwalking, says Michel Cramer Bornemann, the lead investigator of sleep forensics at the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minn. Bornemann spends his days working on the legal implications of sleepwalking. He’ll help build a case to defend a sleepwalker who wanders into a stranger’s home, or, on the other hand, prosecute a woman who claims she was sleepwalking when she loaded a gun, shot and killed someone.

“If you think about sleep, the part of the brain that makes us human is essentially offline,” Bornemann says. He’s talking about the prefrontal cortex, which controls our personalities and our decision making processes. In sleepwalking, “the behaviors are either very primal, reflexive behaviors, or they’re overlearned behaviors that are kind of built into our neural networks that have become habitual.”

On NPR’s “This American Life,”comedian Mike Birbiglia relates experience with the sleepwalking disorder and an episode that nearly killed him. While staying at a motel in Walla Walla, Wash., he had a nightmare that a missile was headed for his hotel room. While still asleep, he got out of bed and jumped out the second story window. To cope with the disorder, he now sleeps in a sleeping bag.

Sleepwalking is more common among kids, affecting about 12 percent of American children, Bonneman says. But as the brain matures, most people grow out of it – it’s much rarer for adults to sleepwalk, and only about 4 percent of Americans adults do.

“But technically, it can happen in a lot of us,” Bonneman says. “This is something that all of us are potentially capable of.”

Article from: msnbc.msn.com



Related Articles
Sleep-kill hubby: Wife’s forgiven me in a dream
Sleep Problems Are Common in US Soldiers Returning from Wartime Deployment (No, really?)
Sleep Paralysis Visions: Demons, Succubi, and the Archetypal Mind
Wish Fulfillment? No. But Dreams (and Sleep) Have Meaning
Lucid Dreaming: Awake in Your Sleep?


Latest News from our Front Page

Right into enemy hands? ISIS shows off new weapons allegedly airdropped by US (VIDEO)
2014 10 23
Islamic State has published a new video in which a jihadist shows off brand-new American hardware, which was purportedly intended for the Kurds they are fighting in the Syrian border town of Kobani. The undated video, posted by the unofficial IS mouthpiece “a3maq news”, sees a jihadist showing several boxes of munitions with English-language markings, with a parachute spread out on ...
STAGED INFECTION: Has The Ebola ‘Outbreak’ Narrative Fallen Apart?
2014 10 22
Over the past month, the ‘pandemic’ propaganda surrounding the deadly Ebola virus seemed to reach vitriolic levels – raising serious questions about the validity of this current viral outbreak… On Monday of this week, it was reported that 48 people were released and cleared after a 21-day quarantine due to their contact with the now deceased Ebola-stricken patient Thomas Eric ...
6,000-Year-Old Temple with Possible Sacrificial Altars Discovered
2014 10 21
A 6,000-year-old temple holding humanlike figurines and sacrificed animal remains has been discovered within a massive prehistoric settlement in Ukraine. Built before writing was invented, the temple is about 60 by 20 meters (197 by 66 feet) in size. It was a "two-story building made of wood and clay surrounded by a galleried courtyard," the upper floor divided into five ...
What happened to Journalist Serena Shim? Assassinated? Find out what happened to Serena, Press TV director calls on Turkey
2014 10 21
Press TV news director Hamid Reza Emadi says the “suspicious death,” of the news channel’s correspondent in Turkey is a tragedy for “anyone who wants to get the truth.” Emadi made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Sunday following Serena Shim’s death across the border from Syria’s Kurdish city of Kobani, where the ISIL terrorists and Kurdish fighters ...
Ancient Roman Nanotechnology Inspires Next-Generation Holograms for Information Storage
2014 10 21
The Lycurgus Cup, as it is known due to its depiction of a scene involving King Lycurgus of Thrace, is a 1,600-year-old jade green Roman chalice that changes colour depending on the direction of the light upon it. It baffled scientists ever since the glass chalice was acquired by the British Museum in the 1950s, as they could not work ...
More News »