One out of five college students experience the Exploding Head Syndrome (EHS) at least once in their life. This is according to the researchers at Washington State University.
If you are not familiar with EHS, it is actually a psychological phenomenon where you hear an exploding sound or a loud noise when you are asleep. This isn’t a new concept since it was first introduced and named in 1988.
Anyone who has experienced EHS will say it is not pleasant. Often, patients will wake up with palpitations and sometimes they are drenched in sweat, leaving them terrified. For many people, EHS is harmless, but it can be scary.
According to the researchers, when this happens, there may be clinical consequences. A person can feel distressed and although more research is needed, it is possible that it will result in impairment.
More Common in Young People
Before the mentioned research, there were small studies where researchers hypothesized that EHS is not a common condition and if it does happen, it usually affects people who are older than 50 years old. However, the researchers at Washington State found out that the previous studies were not accurate. In fact, one out of five college students or 18% of them have experienced Exploding Head Syndrome. What is even more surprising is that those who went through EHS reported that it has impacted their lives significantly.
Dr. Brian Sharpless, an assistant professor at Washington State University and the director of the psychology clinic in the said university expressed how unfortunate the situation is. If you experienced EHS and it has a negative impact on your everyday life, there is no treatment available yet. The researchers discovered that people who had the syndrome also started suffering from isolated sleep paralysis. This is a frightening experience as it affects the ability of a person to move or speak when he or she wakes up.
What Triggers EHS
Exploding Head Syndrome happens when you are falling asleep. The Washington State researchers suspect that this is brought about by the inability of the brain to shut down properly.When you go to sleep, your brain does as well. It is like a computer shutting down, so the motors, visual, and auditory neurons turn themselves off. However, instead of this normal process, the auditory neurons fire all at the same time, which is why loud noises that cannot be explained are heard.
Exploding head syndrome is a sleeping disorder that still needs further research, so that treatment may become available to nightly sufferers.