Exploding Head Syndrome: Seeing Light, Hearing Crashes

Some people suffering from an issue known as exploding head syndrome experience the sound of a thing falling on the ground or even may see very bright light flash, even when such events may not occur, according to a new study.

Exploding Head Syndrome

Not much is known about this syndrome to researchers, but the condition is more common than it was thought before, according to the study, published in the journal called Cephalalgia on 6th of April.

The phenomenon taking place in this syndrome is said to be a “sensory” sleep disorder, as per the study.

This syndrome is most likely to be experienced when the person is about to fall asleep or wake up, said by Brain Sharless, the author of the study and associate professor of the department of clinical psychology in Argosy University. Sharless was able to find that 3.5 percent of the individuals have had this experience at least once in their lives.

One of the popular theories trying to explain the phenomenon focuses on reticular formation, a part of the brain. This area is known for allowing a person to go to sleep, according to Sharpless.

The brain has to go through certain steps before falling asleep. Shutting down is one of the steps where the brain shuts its ability to hear. But, people who have exploding head syndrome may not be able to shut their neurons, which could result in firing them all together ultimately causing the person to hear something all of a sudden in the head, according to Sharpless.

Reticular formation also has a role to play in sleep paralysis, as per Sharpless. In this condition, the individual is not able to move in spite of waking up. At times he/she may also see things simultaneously.

A new study focused on 49 participants who had experienced this syndrome had to take an interview regarding the symptoms of the condition.

The experiences were varied among participants. The participants reported that the most commonly heard sound is the dropping of an object like an explosion or door slamming, as per the study.

People do not get to hear speech, or anything that has meaning. Racing heart and fear are common symptoms as well. A quarter and a few above reported that they saw a flash of light. Sharpless found that the exploding head syndrome is very frightening for the participants. Only few of them had evidences of feeling hot or experiencing mild headache. Such pain symptoms could also indicate some serious health condition.

The study was able to find that only 10 percent of the participants actually confronted this condition with a doctor. At times when the doctor was informed, the physician was not aware of this syndrome.

Even till this date, the condition is not well understood. Sharpless said that this syndrome could actually result from some alterations in the brain. Sleep can be very complicated. Hence, there are chances of things going wrong too.

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