Man Commits Suicide in His Sleep

Julie Ryan Evans

empty bedBy all accounts, 35-year-old Tobias Young had everything going for him in life -- a great job in New York, a fiance, and plans for a house and kids. Then one unremarkable day in May he went to sleep and hanged himself.

In that order.

His fiance believes he committed suicide in his sleep.

According to reports, Young never suffered from depression, but he was plagued with parasomnias, better known as sleepwalking.

According to an article in the Telegraph, he had been caught in some recent bizarre behaviors while sleeping, like showing up for a meeting while asleep (he started eating food off a stranger's plate) and mistaking his wife for a murderer.

While other sleepwalking suicides are rare, they have been reported, and there are even more cases in which sleepwalkers are killed or injured after wandering into traffic or off a balcony.

Sleepwalking, as a whole, is more common that I would have thought.

“Parasomnias occur with 12 percent of children up to the age of 18, rising to a peak of 17 percent at age 12,” Dr. Michel Cramer Bornemann told the paper. “As the brain matures, these behaviours dissipate, but 4 percent of adults continue sleepwalking.”

As far as I know, I've only had one sleepwalking incident in my life. I was living in Boston at the time in a tiny little apartment with my husband, who was then my fiance. I don't know if it was the stress of having just moved and trying to plan a wedding across the country or what, but it was frightening.

I got out of bed and wandered into the kitchen, where I proceeded to take the trash out of the trashcan and throw it about the apartment. Then, I turned on one of the stove's burners and went back to bed.

Fortunately, because the apartment was so small, my husband heard the commotion and came out to see what was going on and turned off the stove (I think he left the garbage for me to clean up in the morning).

But what could have happened is terrifying.

I've never had another incident in the 11 years since (that I know of anyway), but it's really unsettling that I could be so out of control of my own actions like that.

I feel for Young's family and fiance who lost this man in such a confusing and tragic way and hope that it somehow is able to raise awareness for others who sleepwalk as to just how dangerous it can be.

Have you or any of your family members gotten into a dangerous situation due to sleepwalking?

Image via Brad K/Flickr


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