I believe both heaven and hell can be felt before death, depending upon one's choices.
The emotions we feel are only there because we create them. Most people I've met tend to let circumstances guide their creation. This need not be the case. One of my fellow students in high school, Rockville, Maryland, jumped off of Rock Creek Park bridge because of her own private hell.
But I think the biblical hell is spiritual and perhaps mental (not brain related, but perception and reasoning as a spiritual being).
The Buddhists describe the post-death "bardo" (or between time) as frequently filled with terror -- a living nightmare. This is not always the case, but it might depend on how much attachment one has to their physical life and how much they lived in the ego.
Ego itself is perhaps a form of hell. My current estimate is that ego is the source of all evil in this world. Think about each form of evil in this context. Ego is all about the self. From the suicide perpetrator, to the arrogant bully, all the way to the kind, little old lady who goes to church but wouldn't be caught dead talking to a street bum. All of these are filled with ego and selfishness.
Many places in the Bible are symbolic. For instance, Adam was told that he would die on the day he ate the Forbidden Fruit, but the Bible describe him and his mate being escorted out of the Garden. Two chapters later, Adam is described having children and living to 930 years. What happened to dying on the day? If the Garden of Heaven was a spiritual place (not physical), then Adam and Eve likely died spiritually. They succumbed to the immortal "death" -- the long sleep of ego-dependence.
Homo sapiens came later, after the disaster in the Garden. The chaotic dreams of the sleeping immortals needed a semi-permanent blackboard on which to write -- in order to plan their escape. That blackboard could be the consciousness of Homo sapiens.