Medically the review by Stacy Sampson, D.O. — written by Kathryn Watson — to update on September 18, 2018

those exploding head syndrome?

Exploding head syndrome is a condition that happens during your sleep. The most common symptom has hearing a according to noise together you fall asleep or when you wake up up. Despite its scary-sounding name, exploding head syndrome typically isn’t a serious wellness problem.

You are watching: Head feels like its going to explode

While the exact reason is unknown, the belongs come a team of conditions called parasomnias, which space sleep disorders that wake you up from a partial or deep sleep. Nightmares, night terrors, and also sleepwalking are likewise parasomnias.


If you have exploding head syndrome, you’ll hear loud explosion-like noises as you’re drifting turn off to sleep or approximately when you’re waking up. The former is a type of hypnogogic hallucination, and the last is a form of hypnopompic hallucination. Back they’re just hallucinations, which are imagined, the noises in exploding head syndrome feel an extremely realistic at the moment they occur.

These noises may jolt friend awake and keep friend from falling earlier to sleep. It can happen just once, or friend may have recurring experiences. The loud noise generally only happens as soon as you’re going in between sleep stages and usually walk away as soon as you’re awake.

Some people also see flashes of light in addition to the loud noises. Other extr symptoms include:

elevated love ratesense of fear or distressmuscle twitches

The reasons of exploding head syndrome aren’t completely understood. Some researchers think it’s a neurological issue, while others think it’s pertained to clinical fear and anxiety. It could additionally be concerned the components of your center ear shifting throughout the night.

People with high stress levels or a history of other sleep disruptions seem come be at a higher risk of having exploding head syndrome. When doctors supplied to think it was much more common in older adults and women, newer research suggests it’s reasonably common in university students together well.


If you have actually symptoms the exploding head syndrome, you doctor might refer you come a sleep specialist. You might be request to save a sleep diary of her symptoms, as well as keep track of your dietary habits and emotional states, every night because that a couple of weeks.

In part cases, you might need to invest a night in a sleep laboratory. There, a sleep specialist can conduct polysomnographic testing to evaluate miscellaneous things happening in her body simultaneously while you sleep. This includes your neurological task with one electroencephalogram, to try to decide the cause.


There’s no traditional treatment for exploding head syndrome. Your treatment plan will count on her age, various other symptoms, and the degree to which her symptoms affect your life.

For some, certain species of medication can help. These include medications that influence neurological activity, such as anticonvulsants and tricyclic antidepressants. Calcium channel blockers may likewise help.

Other treatment remedies include:

counseling and psychotherapychanges in her sleep routine

For some people, merely finding out that this problem is generally not harmful and not a reason to be overly concerned is enough to improve symptoms.


The symptoms of exploding head syndrome no dangerous by themselves. For some people, however, the associated sensation of being jolted awake in are afraid can bring about ongoing anxiety. In some cases, this anxiety provides it very hard to fall asleep, which deserve to lead come physical and psychological problems in time.

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Exploding head syndrome can be frightening, specifically the first few times you endure symptoms. Shot to alleviate your stress and anxiety level, especially before you walk to bed. If that happens consistently or beginning to influence your sleep schedule, call your doctor and ask about seeing a sleep specialist.


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Medically the review by Stacy Sampson, D.O. — created by Kathryn Watson — to update on September 18, 2018