Ever wake up with the sounds of explosions loudly going off in your head? You may be apart of the growing population of people who are suffering from what is called Exploding Head Syndrome. A startling new study found in the Journal of Sleep Medicine suggests that a whopping 1 of 5 people say that they experience this horrific “imagined” new disorder.
Discussions surrounding this scary sleep disorder can be found dating back to the late 1800′s, when Philadelphia physician Silas Weir Mitchell published his paper “On Some of the Disorders of Sleep,” in the Virginia Medical Monthly. Mitchell described the case of a patient he referred to as “Mr. V” who experienced a “sense of a pistol shot or a blow on the head.”
Around 1920, Dr. Robert Armstrong-Jones, a psychiatrist documented that several of his patients experience similar symptoms that were described as the “terrifying nighttime snapping of the brain.”
According to Lisa Medalie, a doctor of psychology and a behavioral sleep medicine specialist at the University of Chicago, “the abnormal sensation lasts only a few seconds, but the fright from the event often causes problems returning to sleep and symptoms of insomnia.” Research suggests that this disorder is brought on by lack of sleep and stress, that both contribute to your brains capability to completely shutdown at bedtime. Simply put, a normal persons brain shuts down in stages, piece by piece. The brain of someone with this disorder experiences somewhat of a neuron freak accident (for lack of better words), and everything just shuts off all at once. This is what creates the explosive noises these individuals experience.
There currently isn’t a medicine on the market that treats this disorder, but most doctors and researchers have concluded the disorder to be pretty harmless. The only harm that tens to come from this scary issue is how one reacts to it. Many doctors find that their patients that suffer from EHS lack education around the subject matter and assume there is more wrong with them than there actually is. Lifestyle changes such as avoiding caffeine and other stimulants around bed time, regular exercise, and mediation are the typical directives given to patients who believe they are victim to EHS.