Exploding Head Syndrome sounds terrifying, but don’t worry -- no one’s head literally explodes.
People with the condition get awakened by loud noises that don’t actually occur - it’s all in the sufferer’s mind. The loud noise, which the American Sleep Association describes as “similar to a bomb exploding, a gun going off [or] a clash of cymbals,” usually occurs just before a deep sleep. Exploding Head Syndrome is also associated with “stress and extreme fatigue.”
A new study from Washington State University suggests more young people suffer from the syndrome than previously thought. Earlier studies concluded most people who suffered from Exploding Head Syndrome were older adults, though the cause of the phenomenon is unknown.
The director of Washington State University’s psychology department, Brian Sharpless, interviewed over 200 college students and found nearly one in five students experienced the phenomenon.
Sharpless said an episode can be so intense that some might believe they had a seizure -- or worse.
“Some people have worked these scary experiences into conspiracy theories and mistakenly believe the episodes are caused by some sort of directed-energy weapon,” he said.
There’s no treatment for Exploding Head Syndrome, but Sharpless said there is a drug that can “turn the volume down.” The American Sleep Association says reducing stress may alleviate the symptoms as well.