What Is Exploding Head Syndrome?
People who experience exploding head syndrome—a sensory sleep disorder that does not actually involve explosions—sense things—loud crashes or flashes of bright lights, for example—that haven't really occurred, often as they are falling asleep or waking up. A new study suggests this startling condition is more common than previously thought.
According to researchers, about 13.5 percent of people experience this phenomenon at least once in their lives. Exploding head syndrome may be related to a part of the brain called the reticular formation located in the brainstem, which is involved in the process of falling asleep.
Normally, as a person falls asleep, brain cells responsible for hearing and vision shut down. In exploding head syndrome, these cells may fire all at once causing the person to "hear" or "see" an explosion. This phenomenon, which is often frightening, also can cause a racing heart rate and mild headache in some cases.
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