Exploding head syndrome is not nearly as dramatic or fatalistic as it may sound. It is actually a rare sleep disorder. As the name implies, this disorder interrupts sleep with an imagined explosion within the person’s head.
There is no actual explosion, but people who suffer from this rare sleep disorder imagine a huge explosion just as they fall asleep or sometimes after they have already been asleep for some time.
The imagined explosion wakes up the person affected by this disorder, and in some instances the event can be frightening and relatively traumatic. People who suffer from Exploding Head Syndrome may have additional stress when trying to fall asleep because they fear the potential of recurring explosions and the sheer fear of the event may be enough to make sleeping problematic.
Explosion is Painless
In most reported cases of Exploding Head Syndrome there is no pain associated with the occurrence at all. This syndrome isn’t caused by a medical problem; it is purely a sleep disorder.
There may be other reasons for people experiencing similar events. Some people with medical or psychological problems may experience similar explosions, and this is why it is important to rule out any underlying reasons for this phenomenon.
In other words, if this exploding head action sounds familiar, do not automatically assume that you are suffering from this rare sleep disorder. You should seek assistance from a doctor or sleep research expert so that you can have a full evaluation. Having explosions within your head is not something that should be taken likely.
If all other causes have been ruled out, you will probably receive a diagnosis of Exploding Head Syndrome. What happens after the diagnosis depends largely on how much the events are proving problematic to you.
Many people suffering from this rare sleep disorder choose to simply accept the fact that these scenarios occur sporadically. In fact, some people find that once they receive the actual diagnosis and rule out anything serious the instances of the explosions lessen substantially.
Some sleep experts feel as though Exploding Head Syndrome might be directly related to stress. If this is indeed the case then people with this rare sleeping disorder might be able to lessen or eliminate completely episodes of explosions by learning methods by which to relax prior to attempting to go to sleep.
Get Rid of the Stress
People will need to learn how to lessen their overall stress levels too, and not just when going to sleep at night, because even if they are able to calm themselves enough to get to sleep at night they may inevitably discover that stressors from the day creep themselves into their heads while sleeping.
If receiving a proper diagnosis and learning how to relieve stress do not prove effective in getting a full night’s sleep without the head explosions then the doctor may suggest a prescription medication.
There is not one medication on the market that is specifically designed for this sleep disorder, but there are some drugs which are designed for other ailments, yet have proven useful in this instance.
Illustration by d4rkcr0w CC BY
Did you like this article? Then you'll really want to sign up for my newsletter. It's delivered several times a week and packed with science news and analysis. Subscibe Here.