'Exploding Head Syndrome' Is Real: Experts
Sufferers hear loud noises before or after sleep
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted May 11, 2014 5:39 AM CDT
'Exploding head syndrome' may involve hearing loud noises before sleep.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – OK, it doesn't involve one's head literally exploding, but "exploding head syndrome" is no joke, say experts. "It's a provocative and understudied phenomenon," says psychologist Brian Sharpless of Washington State University after a review of studies. Sufferers experience explosive-sounding noises during transitions between waking and sleep. They may feel like they're hearing gunshots or fireworks. "I've worked with some individuals who have it seven times a night," Sharpless says. Others may only have it once, ever, the Daily Mail notes.

The result can be a fear of going to sleep as well as mild pain during the episodes—though the perceived noises themselves aren't harmful. Why does it happen? Experts aren't sure. "Our best guess is that it occurs when the body doesn't shut down for sleep in the correct sequence," Sharpless says. "Instead of shutting down, certain groups of neurons actually get activated and have us perceive the bursts of noise." It appears to be most common in women older than 50, eMaxHealth reports, but it's by no means limited to that group; in fact, it may occur in 10% of people, the Mail notes. According to eMax, the "best treatment" is simply learning that the disorder won't hurt you. (Another thing that actually exists, according to science: "short man syndrome.")

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May 12, 2014 11:29 AM CDT
"According to eMax, the "best treatment" is simply learning that the disorder won't hurt you." O.k. But notice what "#1" is from the eMax (whatever the hell authority they are) website is, even though: "Why does it happen? Experts AREN'T SURE. 1. In terms of medication, a tricyclic antidepressant called clomipramine is often prescribed. 2. If it is stress causing the problem, yoga, reading, a hot bath and relaxing music are prescribed. 3. If sleep duration is the problem, 7+ hours of shut-eye are prescribed. 4. The best treatment is just to reassure the patient that it is harmless and the brain is perfectly fine. Surprise, surprise! Doctors aren't sure, so "here, take these".
May 12, 2014 10:34 AM CDT
Heard that a few times. I chalk it up to Caffeine, Alcohol. and every man made chemical in the entire world. Especially particle boards.
May 12, 2014 8:46 AM CDT
My exploding head syndrome sounds like Venetian Snares.