The unusual name will certainly get your attention, but fortunately Exploding Head Syndrome is not life-threatening or physically harmful. In a recent study more than 10 percent of people experienced the syndrome, a sleep disorder in which crashing or exploding sounds make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. 

Dr. Brian Sharpless, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Washington State University and author of Sleep Paralysis, explains that instead of the auditory neurons in the brain shutting down in the process of going to sleep, they all fire at once causing the loud noises. The syndrome is not totally understood, but Dr. Sharpless believes it is related to sleep paralysis, the feeling of being awake but unable to speak or move, which involves a similar misfiring in the brain. There’s a wide range of symptoms, from an isolated episode once a week to daily extreme fatigue. here are a few medical solutions to the problem, mostly off-label uses of medication, such as antidepressants or psychotropics. 

Walter Michka, a health blogger, has experienced Exploding Head Syndrome first hand. Although it might be a little scary at first, for him the syndrome is something he can live with. Learn more about the syndrome or related sleep disorder by visiting Dr. Sharpless’s website,


  • Walter Michka, health blogger and exploding head syndrome sufferer
  • Dr. Brian Sharpless, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Washington State University and author, Sleep Paralysis

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