Exploding Head Syndrome

Perhaps you've been in a state of peaceful slumber only to be abruptly awakened by a frighteningly loud noise. Did you realize that the sound was not originating from the surrounding environment but from you? You might have concluded that you had just experienced a nightmare. But what you've most likely experienced is "exploding head syndrome". You are not the only one that suffers from this syndrome. A study conducted by researchers from the Washington State University recorded sleep occurrences of college students and concluded that approximately 1/5 or 18% of them had experienced this phenomenon at least once.

What Is Exploding Head Syndrome?

The 2005 International classifications of Sleep Disorders classified this condition as a parasomnia. Reports of exploding head syndrome describe the sufferers hearing loud noises that startle them when they're falling asleep or starting to awaken. What they're experiencing is an auditory hallucination. Sudden fear is felt by all, but some may also visualize a bright light.

ase studies have been noted since 1876, but there aren't enough of them to provide conclusive evidences concerning the rates of occurrences and the general characteristics of people who report having the parasomnia. The American physician and writer Silas Weir Mitchell described this condition as "sensory discharges" in 19876. And then Welsh physician Robert Armstrong-Jones gave it its current name in 1920. Besides, notable reports such as by British neurologist John M. S. Pearce, expound upon the disturbance.

What Are the Symptoms of Exploding Head Syndrome?

Here are some symptoms you will experience with exploding head syndrome:

  • Some people who experience exploding head syndrome even think they've suffered a stroke.
  • The sound is so loud that they are described as clanging cymbals, an exploding bomb, or generally as a loud bang.
  • While generally pain isn't associated with the sound, occasionally some people may feel a sharp stabbing pain in their head, which can be mistaken as a headache or a migraine.
  • You may experience intense levels of fear and distress.
  • A twitching or jerking motion of the body is common.
  • The frequency of exploding head syndrome varies. It can be really rare, but can also happen several times in just one night, which can deprive you sleep.

How Does Exploding Head Syndrome Happen?

Whether a few hours or a few years pass between the sleep disturbances, the condition can definitely affect your normal life. However, the cause of exploding head syndrome is still not known. Even so, we have found some theories that may give you some relief:

  • According to some studies, suffers may experience high levels of stress, or have mental or physical fatigue.
  • Your exploding head syndrome may be brought out by another condition, like use of medication, an underlying medical or mental condition, substance abuse or another kind of sleep disorder.
  • Evidence suggests that it occurs more frequently to women, especially those over 58 years old, although it may also happen to children as young as 10 years old.
  • Some medical researchers have theorized that exploding head syndrome stems from the brain's temporal lobe where minor seizures originate.

How to Deal With Exploding Head Syndrome

As the exact causation of exploding head syndrome is not known, doctors focus on alleviating the treatable symptoms to lessen its reoccurring.

  • For some people, the time distance between 2 episodes is fairly long and this condition even stops and never occurs again. So, adjustments aren't necessary.
  • Allow yourself to sleep longer every night.
  • Doctors recommend reducing stress by taking hot baths, practicing meditation, doing yoga, taking short walks, reading books, especially before sleep.
  • Don't drink alcohol beverages to make yourself tired because it can cause other types of sleep disturbances.
  • It would be beneficial to attempt alleviating the symptoms without the aid of medications.
  • Since medication may play a role in this condition as reported by American Sleep Association or ASA, doctors suggest moderating all of your medication or drug use to provide relief for the symptoms.

If you are experiencing the cluster of symptoms of exploding head syndrome, if you are worried about or bothered by your condition, be sure to consult a doctor to make proper diagnosis and get proper treatments.

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