I have exploding head syndrome

With me it’s mussels. Which is a shame, as I fuckin’ love me some mussels in arrabiata sauce, but dear god, the repercussions are horrifying.


Sounds sort of like myoclonic jerks, which I gather are much more common. I jerked awake with one a few weeks ago, then realized it was the first one I’d had in many years. Fairly common when I was a kid.


I’m sure this is also why, if you tiptoe round the house, you’ll wake the damn baby up, but if you blunder round making happy parent noises, they’ll sleep. Quiet rustlings sends out ‘something’s eaten them and it’s coming for ME!!’ alarm signals in their hindbrains.


I thought everyone did this. I jokingly told my wife when I read this and she looked at me like I was nuts and said she’s never experienced this.


This happens to me pretty regularly. I also experience strong synesthesia when I’m on the edge of sleep where unexpected noises trigger vivid flashes of color. It makes me happy when it happens.


1 mg melatonin fixed me. Also what’s the stress factor? That is usually the trigger.

more sleep disturbance than medical condition. It’s not neccisarily indicitive of anything or caused by anything physical. And you’re not going to find treatments outside of normal sleep heath recommendations. Most of these things are either psychological. Or universal quirks from how sleeping works, that most people experience rarely and don’t even remember. But some people experience often enough to impact sleep quality. The major source of it all tends to be stress, though it can be linked to depression and anxiety.

I also think that’s not a great description of it. I’ve experienced this most of my life, I think of it more as a hallucination of the pressure sense in your ears/head. As it feels and “sounds” more like a very extreme, disembodied version of popping your ears.

I tend to get it as a long, continual sort of surging sensation as I drift off. With pressure building in the negative space between my ears and my eyes. Eventually it pops, causing the flash of light and waking me up fully.

That’s auditory hallucinations. It’s similar but distinct. They tend to go hand in hand when it comes to sleep disturbances.

That part can be you actually hearing your own heart beat/blood flow. If you have your head pressed too tightly into your pillow. Or if you sleep with your arm under your head.

Seems to be common trigger for both exploding head and more routine auditory hallucinations.

It can happen in total silence, and it’s replicable in a lab setting. I actually can’t sleep in earplugs because it tends to trigger this sort of thing. I believe it is classified as a sort of hallucination, as several common sleep disturbances are.

In my experience it tends to come with not enough noise. White noise is excellent for preventing it and the commonly recommended coping mechanism.

I run a fan.

Specific distinguishable noises. Say bangs, people talking, cars going by. Tend to be more likely to become incorporated into dreams or trigger dreaming related disturbances. Sleep paralysis and parasomnias, nightmares, recurring dreams, and lucid dreams. That sort of thing.

Yes. It tends to kick off my sleep paralysis.

White noise. White noise. White noise.


I don’t think I have this, or if I do it’s a very mild case.

Occasionally (once every other month maybe) I will perceive a visual ‘flash’ as I’m dozing off or about to fall asleep. A brief white light fills my vision despite having my eyes closed, as if someone took a flash-photograph in the same room as me. No auditory component, tends to happen more often in dim lighting conditions than when the room is in total darkness.

I always open my eyes to check, and there’s no-one and nothing around to explain the event. /shrug


Isn’t this just an auditory version of hypnogogic hallucinations? Or hypnopompic hallucinations?

I hope there’s some common drug that causes this as a side effect, just so the TV ads have to say, “Side effects may include nausea, dry mouth, rash, and Exploding Head Syndrome.”


I do that too! Once in a while there’s is loud clear BANG in my head when going to sleep. Maybe rarely a flash of light as well but don’t remember. Also, It doesn’t seem to happen it when taking a nap (iirc)

Always wondered what the heck was up with that. huh neat.

“They”. Ha! As if that’s even “their” real name…

This must be more common than the description suggests, I get the same thing once and a while as well. Either my name, or a loud crash. But at most once a month. I’ll also double down: sometimes I’ll doze off for just a moment and have a brief dream where I suddenly fall. Like trip on the edge of a stair. Boom! Instantly awake and feeling silly.

I also get the light flashes once in a long while. Maybe once a year? It’s like a flashbulb (remember those) goes off in the fluid of my eye.

I read about how neutrino detectors work. Large amounts of fluid (mostly water) are stored deep underground with photon detectors to catch the rare occurrence of a neutrino striking the core of an atom. Could the human eye function the same way?

I have this too, a small external noise on my way to sleep will cause a millisecond or so of full visual field black and white geometric pattern. The geometric pattern is different every night.


I’ve jolted myself awake because of loud sounds or my dad’s loud voice calling my name that I have to think for a moment that it hadn’t actually happened.

If I’m trying extra hard to stay awake, surrounding sounds or speech wink out in that high-pitched way, just like tape-recorders that lose power as they are recording.

It’s also one of my cues I need to pull over and rest if I’m driving.

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