YOU wouldn't be alone in pondering what it feels like when you die.
Death is something we will all experience some day, but for many of us it feels like the great unknown.
People who've experienced being clinically dead have shared their experiences on Reddit.
One user said the experience was peaceful: "My world became soft and foggy and everything faded to black."
Another described seeing their dead aunt sitting at their bedside.
A nurse recently said many people often experience "visioning" – this is when dying people, who are often fully lucid, see deceased friends, family and even pets.
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Now a doctor has shared what exactly happens to your body as you edge slowly towards death.
1. Your heart slows
Firstly, your heart will begin to beat more slowly – in turn, your blood will be pumped around your body more slowly and your blood pressure will fall, palliative medicine specialist Dr Kathryn Mannix wrote in Science Focus.
You may feel at peace while this happens, or you could experience some restlessness or confusion.
2. Your breathing changes
Your breathing will follow automatic patterns generated by the respiratory centre in the brain stem, Dr Kathryn wrote.
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It could get heavier and noisier – some people lose the sense of their mouth and throat. But this happens without apparent distress, the doctor said.
You may also start to breath more slowly and shallowly.
Your breath could move from deep to shallow and from fast to slow in repeating cycles.
There might be pauses and, eventually, it will come to a halt. Your heart will stop after a few minutes, as it is no longer being supplied with oxygen.
3. Dipping in and out of consciousness
You'll spend progressively less time awake, Dr Kathryn said.
It might look like sleep from the outside, but you'll gradually drift into consciousness for longer periods of time as you near the end, maybe without noticing it.
Dr Kathryn wrote: "On waking, people report having slept peacefully, with no sense of having been unconscious."
Research published earlier this year indicates that you could even enter a meditative state.
Scientists accidentally captured our most complex organ as it shut down, showing an astonishing snapshot into death.
A patient with epilepsy was hooked up to an electroencephalogram (EEG) before having a heart attack.
This meant the 15 minutes around his death was recorded on the EEG.
In the 30 seconds either side of the patient's final heartbeat, an increase in very specific brain waves were spotted.
These waves, known as gamma oscillations, are linked to things like memory retrieval, meditation and dreaming.
This could mean – although many more studies would need to take place – we might see a sort of film reel of our best memories as we die.
The parts of the brain that were activated in this study also suggests we could enter a peaceful dreamlike state that feels similar to meditation.
4. You might respond to sound
Researchers think you might still be able to hear sounds in your final moments, despite seeming unresponsive.
Looking at brain activity in coma patients in 2019, they predicted that some form of awareness could be possible at the end.
While you might be able to hear, you may not necessarily be able to make sense of what is going on.
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But Dr Kathryn said: "We have no proven way to investigate what people experience during dying.
"Recent research shows that, even close to death, the unconscious brain responds to noises in the room. We don’t know how much sense music or voices make to a dying person, however."
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