Exploding Head Syndrome
Have you ever heard a gunshot or other loud noise when falling asleep or upon waking, but the person right next to you didn’t hear a thing? If so, you may have been experiencing exploding head syndrome (EHS.) Other reported sounds from people who suffer from this condition include roaring, waves crashing, explosions or loud ringing, and for some, flashes of light may accompany the sound.
“Some people have it once in their entire life, whereas some people have it up to 7 times per night,” says Dr. Brian Sharpless, PhD, director of the Psychology Clinic at Washington State University. The condition is likely brought on by “insomnia, general sleep disruption, and certain types of anxiety,” according to Dr. Sharpless, who stresses the benefits of keeping patients informed. “Believe it or not, just educating patients about the condition and reassuring them that it’s not dangerous can lead to a reduction of episodes in some cases,” he says. “Regulating sleep is likely helpful as well.”
As reported on healthline.com, “Some researchers believe it’s a neurological issue, while others think it’s related to clinical fear and anxiety. It could also be related to the components of your middle ear shifting during the night.”
The syndrome itself isn’t dangerous or painful, but can lead to high levels of anxiety, which in turn can cause it to happen more frequently. “Episodes can cause a high level of distress and fear. Many people think that they are having a stroke,” according to sleepeducation.org.
EHS can also lead to insomnia since some sufferers are afraid to go to sleep. There are some medications that may help, but the best course of action is to try to decrease your stress levels with meditation, yoga, and/or counseling.
The Scotch Plains Rescue Squad is a volunteer organization of Neighbors Helping Neighbors. With over 90 volunteers, we answer emergency calls not only in Scotch Plains but in surrounding towns as well when needed. Besides answering calls, you will see our ambulances at many special events held in town, such as Scotch Plains Day, the Memorial Day Parade, high school football games, and the summer concerts on the Village Green. We are also available to provide demonstrations for Boys and Girls Scout troops, clubs, and any other group that may be interested in what we do. In addition, we lend out wheelchairs, crutches, canes and other assorted medical equipment free of charge. Our Auxiliary Group holds fund raisers and provides other much needed support for our members. Please reach out to us if there is something we can do for you, or if you would like to become a part of our organization. (908) 322-2103 for non-emergencies or firstname.lastname@example.org
Contributing Author: Susan Baldani, a life member of the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad.