Do you ever have dreams that you're falling from a great height? Such dreams are common, and they usually signify a feeling of losing control over something in your life. Falling, even in a dream, can be terrifying, but you'll usually wake up before you land. Worldwide, approximately 420,000 people annually pass from falling - including distances from a tall building to slipping in the shower. These accidents don't always result in fatalities, as the human body has the ability to recover from extraordinary trauma. Scientists promote information on how one can position the body in order to minimize damage from a fall. This list explains what could physiologically happen if you fell from a great height - and one surprising theory of how to possibly counteract the severity of impact and survive the unexpected.
Although our brains account for only a small percentage of our body mass, they require approximately 20 percent of our energy. While our reaction times can be quiet fast - like 250 mph - the time in which we experience pain or process trauma is much slower. Signals travel through our brains at a rate of about one meter per second.
So depending on how short the fall is, one could hit the ground before even processing what's happening.
Research has shown that if you are drunk, you are more likely to survive a serious injury, though scientists don't know exactly why. There is a myth that when you are intoxicated, you are better able to absorb an impact because your body is more relaxed, whereas a sober person is likely to be tense.
A study conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago refers to this as the "protective effect." However, this is a working theory and hasn't been confirmed within the scientific community.
The act of falling itself generally isn't what ends a person - but the sudden deceleration of our bodies can. Falling from a great height can dramatically alter our weight upon impact. So if you fell out of an airplane with no parachute, your body would be about 7,500 times its normal weight when it hit the ground. In that moment, your brain alone would weigh 10 tons.
To put it into perspective, if someone weighing 110 pounds fell a distance of 10 feet with a deceleration at 1 foot, then the force generated from the body would actually equal about 1,210 pounds.
Decelerating rapidly - which is what happens if the human body falls and then makes sudden impact - can cause cells to rupture. Like cells, blood vessels can also break open, preventing the circulation of oxygen throughout the body. Without oxygen, our organs, including the brain, cease to function.
As one skydiver muses: "It's not the fall that gets you [...] It's the sudden stop at the bottom."