Can a Nightmare Kill You?

By Gerald Lynch on at

Sleep can be a very powerful thing. Our body is in a near-shutdown state and our minds are left to wander the backstreets of the subconscious, dragging us through some of the more unpleasant capabilities of the imagination.

The horror classic A Nightmare on Elm Street turns 30 this year, and to make the gruesome anniversary, Slate has put together a video exploring the film's central conceit: can a nightmare kill you?

Actually, in some cases, it can. SUNDS, or "sudden death syndrome" was the inspiration for Wes Craven's horror film, and can cause people to experience irregular cardiac activity during their sleep, resulting in death. It mostly affects young men from south-east Asia, suggesting it is a regionally or genetically related condition, and while a direct link to nightmares is difficult to ascertain, it's suggested that superstitious belief in the danger of bad dreams can exacerbate the threat of SUNDS. Sweet dreams. [Slate (YouTube)]