Mind-Body Connection | Health Podcast

Date: 12/02/2011

Death In Your Sleep

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Shelley Adler, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, trained in medical anthropology research, has written a book called Sleep Paralysis: Nightmares, Nocebos, and the Mind-Body Connection.1  She makes a strong case for the incredible power of our mind and beliefs…and how they can even lead to death.

Adler spent time studying the strange case of the Hmong men -- immigrants from Laos to America.  In the early 1980s, 117 of them died in their sleep.  Aside from one of them, they were all healthy and young, with a median age of just 33.  Yet after living in various parts of the United States for a period of months, they began to pass away.  The medical community was confounded, but gave their condition the name Sudden Unexpected Nocturnal Death Syndrome (SUNDS).  A name was all it got because they couldn't come up with any other answers about what was killing these men off.

Adler has researched "nocturnal pressing spirit attacks," which is known as sleep paralysis to scientists -- or just plain old nightmares to the rest of us.  There are beliefs about this sleep disturbance, often considered some type of evil spirit, documented in the traditions of many cultures.

Listen as Jon Barron dives into the mystery of Sudden Unexpected Nocturnal Death Syndrome (SUNDS) and the mind-body connection with this health podcast!

Comments

  •  
    Submitted by Bron on
    May 15, 2012 - 5:52am

    You need to research sleep paralysis a bit more. It is a sleeping disorder. NOT a normal nightmare and the two are very different from each other. I've had it for years.

  •  
    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    May 16, 2012 - 11:52am

     

    Actually, they are the same – other than that sleep paralysis is the medical term for nightmare. (Incidentally, don’t get too hung up on “medical terms.” Doctors have medical terms for everything. Did you know that there was a medical term for laughing? It’s cachinnation. It means exactly the same thing as laughing and using it doesn’t clarify anything. It’s just something doctors use to sound erudite and charge you more money.) The etymology of both “sleep paralysis” and “nightmare” is closely connected. The original definition of sleep paralysis was codified by Samuel Johnson in his A Dictionary of the English Language as "nightmare", a term that evolved into our modern definition. Such sleep paralysis was widely considered to be the work of demons and more specifically incubi, which were thought to sit on the chests of sleepers. In Old English the name for these beings was mare or mære (from a proto-Germanic *maron, cf. Old Norse mara), hence comes the mare part in nightmare.

    Note: the term nightmare is very specific and is tied to sleep paralysis. Perhaps, when you use the phrase “normal nightmare,” you are actually referring to bad dreams, which are not technically nightmares and are definitely not the same as sleep paralysis.

    Hope that helps.

  •  
    Submitted by Terri Moore on
    July 16, 2012 - 7:55am

    I have had sleep issues for many years and I have experienced two out of body experiences in that period of time. My main concern is when I wake up screaming that I am dying or I cannot see and I totally freak out. I have had dreams that my soul was being pulled out of my body a few times. In the past year things have worsen to the point I hate bedtime and I am afraid that I might not wake up. Now I am having an electricity sensation shooting throughout my body and I am waking up more screaming blood murder and scaring everyone in my house. I hate this and I hate scaring the heck out of my kids! I am looking for answers and praying I find them soon.
    I have had so many supernatural happenings in my life since the age of five and I do have to wonder if it has to do with what is happening to me in my slumber? Tired of this, literally!

    I am now 46 years old and I walk around so tired from the lack of peaceful sleep. I have had dreams that I was watching myself sleep also. It is like I forget to breathe in my sleep and I wake up screaming. I really need this to stop and soon!

    I must add I do not wake up and cannot move, I do however at times throw myself off the bed. I almost broke my foot one time.

  •  
    Submitted by Bron on
    May 15, 2012 - 5:52am

    You need to research sleep paralysis a bit more. It is a sleeping disorder. NOT a normal nightmare and the two are very different from each other. I've had it for years.

  •  
    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    May 16, 2012 - 11:52am

     

    Actually, they are the same – other than that sleep paralysis is the medical term for nightmare. (Incidentally, don’t get too hung up on “medical terms.” Doctors have medical terms for everything. Did you know that there was a medical term for laughing? It’s cachinnation. It means exactly the same thing as laughing and using it doesn’t clarify anything. It’s just something doctors use to sound erudite and charge you more money.) The etymology of both “sleep paralysis” and “nightmare” is closely connected. The original definition of sleep paralysis was codified by Samuel Johnson in his A Dictionary of the English Language as "nightmare", a term that evolved into our modern definition. Such sleep paralysis was widely considered to be the work of demons and more specifically incubi, which were thought to sit on the chests of sleepers. In Old English the name for these beings was mare or mære (from a proto-Germanic *maron, cf. Old Norse mara), hence comes the mare part in nightmare.

    Note: the term nightmare is very specific and is tied to sleep paralysis. Perhaps, when you use the phrase “normal nightmare,” you are actually referring to bad dreams, which are not technically nightmares and are definitely not the same as sleep paralysis.

    Hope that helps.

  •  
    Submitted by Terri Moore on
    July 16, 2012 - 7:55am

    I have had sleep issues for many years and I have experienced two out of body experiences in that period of time. My main concern is when I wake up screaming that I am dying or I cannot see and I totally freak out. I have had dreams that my soul was being pulled out of my body a few times. In the past year things have worsen to the point I hate bedtime and I am afraid that I might not wake up. Now I am having an electricity sensation shooting throughout my body and I am waking up more screaming blood murder and scaring everyone in my house. I hate this and I hate scaring the heck out of my kids! I am looking for answers and praying I find them soon.
    I have had so many supernatural happenings in my life since the age of five and I do have to wonder if it has to do with what is happening to me in my slumber? Tired of this, literally!

    I am now 46 years old and I walk around so tired from the lack of peaceful sleep. I have had dreams that I was watching myself sleep also. It is like I forget to breathe in my sleep and I wake up screaming. I really need this to stop and soon!

    I must add I do not wake up and cannot move, I do however at times throw myself off the bed. I almost broke my foot one time.

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