What is Exploding Head Syndrome and how to tell if you have it

Hint: It’s a sleep disorder.

This rare disease has a lot of mystery surrounding it, but it’s definitely not as bad as it sounds. Exploding Head Syndrome sounds like the end of the world but in reality it’s a sleep disorder that affects around 13 percent of the world’s population at some point in their lives. The disease manifests as a super loud sound, as if a door slamming, right when people are about to fall asleep or are about to wake up. Doctors explain the disease as nerves misfiring when our system is shutting down or waking up.

The origins and causes of the disease are still unknown, but doctors believe that the reticular formation of the brain, located in the back of it, is involved in some way. Brian Sharpless, editor of the book “Unusual And Rare Psychological Disorders,” explains what happens to patients who suffer from Exploding Head Syndrome.

“Going to sleep is sort of like shutting down a computer. The brain goes through a series of steps. One of these steps involves “shutting down” the brain cells that are responsible for hearing, called the auditory neurons. When someone has exploding head syndrome, instead of shutting these neurons down, something could cause them to fire all at once, leading the person to “hear” a sudden, loud noise in his or her head.”

A study was conducted on some college students who’ve struggled with this disease at some point in their lives. The results demonstrated varied results, that some students suffered some episodes one time in their lives, while others reported around 150 different episodes. There were some recurring factors that the students expressed, like the fact that the most common sounds they heard was the sound of someone dropping an object from a height, a loud bang or a slamming door. All pretty crappy things to wake up to. This noises come accompanied with a racing heart, fear and even a flash of light.

The name was coined in 1985 but there’s documentation of the disease’s existence as early as the 1800s, when the condition was reported as some strange sensory discharges. Some people have claimed that the origin of the disorder comes from government officials pointing directed energy weapons at them, which clearly proves that no one knows a thing about sleep disorders.

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