Scientific study on "exploding head syndrome"


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I don’t get any audio phenomena, but sometimes there are pronounced motor spikes, which can launch me a few inches. If I am tired enough for an early hypnagogic state prior to full sleep, sometimes I can feel the event sliding up on me, feeling not unlike when one rocks on a chair just too far for it to be stable.


I, sometimes, while almost asleep get the sensation of slipping of falling a short distance and my whole body reacts with a spasm.


I had this happen a couple time a week in college. Generally a very short, intense dream, of just the final seconds of a car crash, fall or similar and would wake up with the “memory” of the impact noise in my ears. Eventually just got used to it and it only happens once or twice a year any more.

I get that too! It’s like a small slide yet you don’t move at all. Very weird feeling.


That’s called a hypnic (or sometimes myoclonic) jerk. I get those too. Wikipedia speculates it is a vestigial reflex left over from when our distant ancestor slept in trees to make sure we were in a stable position.

You are not sleeping in trees are you? That could be the issue.


I “literally” saw this happen when President Obama was elected. I was in the presence of future TeaBaggers, scientifically speaking it was spectalcular, as an American it was just another day.


For those wondering: it feels like a thunderbolt to the head. If that sounds painful, that’s because it is. Fortunately, the pain lasts only a few tenths of a second. Sometimes I’ll also see an equally brief flash of light. I may or may not feel like I’ve just heard a loud sound.

I cannot imagine life with this as a recurrent condition— seems like the only treatment would be an anticonvulsant.

[Edit: Upon further reading, it seems that ‘exploding head syndrome’ is primarily an auditory experience, with pain being an atypical feature.]


The story so nice, you blogged it twice:



I refuse to believe anything I read on the internet today. I’m so worried I’ll fall for something.


Myoclonic Jerks is a name waiting for a punk band.

I remember the exploding-head phenomenon from early teenage years – a blast of white noise while slipping across the threshold into sleep. Sometimes with a visual aspect, a blast of visual static.


I don’t hear a bang or anything, but right when I’m about to fall asleep I do hear faint noises… I can only equate it to faint talking or even music. Almost like it’s coming from outside somewhere. Sometimes it’s loud enough to wake me up.

It can also be freaky thinking there’s people outside talking when you’re almost asleep. Especially when you know that nobody is there. That will typically wake me up.

When I hear the music playing, I just let it play, doesn’t usually wake me up.

I wouldn’t know what that would sound like because I have tinnitus.


and if I had to guess why people hear an explosion in their head, could be their ear drums releasing some pressure as their body changes states creating a “pop” that only they can hear.

I get this all the time, though not really the exploding part. Sometimes I hear loud yells. Most often, I hear music that is very realistic – like a radio is playing (but there isn’t actually one on) – and full-on conversations. It’s an odd place to be on the realm of reality. I can sometimes make them lucid and control them, which is always fun.

I get these irregularly; though typically I get them more often when I am very, very fatigued.

I just start drifting off, I’m in that pleasant space between wakefulness and full sleep and then POW I hear something like getting hit in the head.

One of my first experiences with this was also one of the worst. I was living alone when it happened. It was a godawful combination of a gunshot going off in my head with a concussive flash of light. I thought I must have had a stroke, and spent the next hour pacing the house and doing basic dexterity checks (mostly because I was shaking so much from the fear that I had literally just had an aneurism).

So yeah. Definitely not fun. It’s also hard for me to fall asleep after them, because I usually go right into full-alertness afterwards. This sucks because, as I said, it usually happens when I am really tired.

Mine’s like a jet’s roar. Quite startling. I’m thankful it’s infrequent.
Never realized or thought to inquire if it was just me or a recognized phenomenon.