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5 Ways to Ensure You Don't Die in Your Sleep

Warning signs not to ignore, according to experts.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab

Beloved comedian and actor Bob Saget died earlier this year in his sleep at age 65 after hitting his head,  which sparked concern over an uncommon, but nevertheless real thing that can happen. The family's attorney Brian H. Bieber, released a statement to Entertainment Weekly indicating that the police records "tell the entire story" of the Full House star's unexpected death. Other reasons for dying in your sleep "include include cardiac arrest, stroke, sedatives overdose, seizures, respiratory arrest, carbon monoxide poisoning, etc," Dr. Po-Chang Hsu, Doctor of Medicine (MD) and a Medical Content Expert at SleepingOcean.com told Eat This, Not That! Health. Dr. Hsu also revealed five ways to help prevent dying in your sleep below and who is at risk. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Factors That Increase the Risk of Dying in Your Sleep

White prescription pills spilled onto a table with many prescription bottles in the background

Dr. Hsu explains, "Considering the above-mentioned causes of death, people who are at a higher risk include the elderly; cancer patients; people with cardiovascular problems; those who are indifferent to alcohol, opioids, or sedatives (or have to take them due to certain conditions such as strong pain-killers); people who take medicines that may affect the brain; etc."

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2

Know Your Family Tree

family hugging, laughing outside dinner
Shutterstock

"Learn your family's medical history," Dr. Hsu states. "Many conditions can be 'inherited.' Other illnesses that your parents or grandparents had can simply put you in a risk group. Whatever the case is, it's crucial to know the illness history of your family. It will give you an idea of what to pay more attention to and how to take proper care of your health."

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3

Get Good Quality Sleep

man sleeping soundly in bed
Shutterstock / Syda Productions

Dr. Hsu emphasizes, "Take your sleep seriously. Studies show that sleep deprivation (or too much sleep, for that matter) is linked to increased mortality risk. Therefore, it's crucial to get enough sleep, avoid frequent oversleeping, and follow a consistent sleep schedule. It's also beneficial to avoid stimuli in the evenings (such as screens, caffeinated beverages, and alcohol)."

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4

Don't Ignore Sleeping Disorders

Asian woman sleeps and cannot breathe
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Dr. Hsu says, "Address sleep apnea if you experience symptoms. Many people think that snoring is pretty normal. However, it can be a sign of sleep apnea, which often leads to decreased sleep quality and even an increased risk of sudden death. So, it's better to see a sleep specialist or a physician and pick a suitable sleep apnea treatment. Usually, it involves a CPAP machine that aids proper airflow during sleep."

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5

Don't Be Careless with Meds

medications
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"Be careful with medication," Dr. Hsu states. "People who take meds for heart disease, lung illnesses, and pills that may affect the brain (including pain killers, sedatives, and antidepressants) are at a greater risk of dying in their sleep. That's why they need to be extremely careful with the dosage. It's better to talk to their doctors about reducing the risk of death during sleep and managing proper medicine dosages."

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6

Pay Attention to How Your Body Feels

older woman on yoga mat with back pain
Shutterstock / Dragana Gordic

Dr. Hsu reminds us, "Don't ignore aches and pains. It doesn't mean that you have to be anxious about every random pain. However, it's essential to pay close attention to chest aches or pains that last or occur repeatedly. Any of them can be a sign of a potentially dangerous underlying issue." And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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