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Can Sleep Paralysis Cause Death?

Sleep Paralysis

Death is an event that strikes fear and terror into the heart of the weak-willed and anyone who would prefer to go on living. The principle is simple – no one really likes death.

It’s true and it’s a sobering reminder to think that we all will die eventually, no matter who you are, how rich you are, and how much achievements you’ve done in life. From dust to dust, right? So death is inevitable, but it’s not something we have to study about and spend the day weeping over.

What’s creepy about death is how it can come around the corner of one’s life unexpectedly, like an unwelcome guest that just decides to rudely invite himself to crash your party. But ironically, in sleep, one of the safest and most peaceful states, death can strike.

Now we all know that sleep paralysis is a similarly horrifying event, since it’s helplessness and fear at the same time. But can sleep paralysis directly cause death? Can your eventual demise tragically occur whilst peacefully lying on your calm mattress? Let’s find out.


So what’s sleep paralysis?

To give a simple explanation in a manner that even a 5-year-old would understand, sleep paralysis is when you feel like you’re awake but your body is completely disabled.

Such a phenomenon happens during sleep, and the whole thing seems like the most realistic nightmare anyone will ever experience. The question of whether or not sleep paralysis can cause death is so valid is because for anyone who has ever experienced sleep paralysis (and I am one of them), it seems so real and so scary at the same time. It’s like living a death experience. You feel like being suffocated, not being able to move your limbs and fingers.

What causes death in the first place?

Although the simplicity of the question can be answered by a four year-old, the rhetorical aspect of this still has the ability to put down a point. If we need to find out whether or not sleep paralysis causes death, we need to lay down the presupposition that death is not something that comes around randomly. I mean, life just doesn’t suddenly end.

There are medical reasons, and they happen with a physical and physiological explanation. Heart failure, suffocation, starvation, and injuries are all logical reasons of how a human being dies, just to name a few. So we need to have this fact established. Remember that during sleep paralysis, you only feel like you’re being suffocated, and that’s not the thing that gets you.

The answer?

A definite NO. Sleep paralysis cannot directly cause death. The experience itself is scary, but it can’t just randomly stop your heart like in Death Note. There have been cases of the “sudden death syndrome”, or commonly known in the Philippines as the “bangungot”, but even that can be explained by asphyxiation possibly caused by sleep apnea and acute pancreatitis. All those explanations are caused by the conditions themselves, and not by some mystical property.

So it’s pretty simple. There’s no need to dwell on such grim matters since you know that a horrible experience such as sleep paralysis can’t cause death. That’s even a cause for celebration, right? Well, why don’t you now reward yourself with a nice, comfy nap? Sweet dreams, and don’t let sleep paralysis get you!