Exploding Head Syndrome

Wer jetzt an Scanners und explodierende Köpfe denkt, liegt einen Horrorfilm daneben, denn es geht eher um Nightmare on Elm Street: Manche Menschen wachen aus ihrem Schlaf auf, weil sie Explosionen in ihrem Kopf hören, die von Kontraktionen des Gehirns stammen. Mir geht es ja jedesmal so, wenn ich morgens den Wecker verprügle.

During an episode, a person feels a loud bang coming from inside his or her own head, often described as an explosion, a roar or waves crashing against rocks. Eruptions generally occur while people are falling asleep and less frequently when they are waking up. The explosions vary in frequency and happen most often in healthy individuals older than 50. In 10 percent of cases, people perceive a flash of light, and about 5 percent of patients report the sensation that they have stopped breathing and must make a deliberate effort to breathe again. Sufferers may be afraid or anxious in the aftermath of an attack.

Although the cause of the syndrome is unknown, some doctors speculate that it comes about when the brain stem reticular formation, an important regulator of sleep and wakefulness, fails to power down at the right moment. This area, which adjoins the spinal cord, may temporarily malfunction and cause hallucinations—but nobody knows exactly why the symptoms manifest as bangs or roars. Though loud, the noise is typically not painful or dangerous, and it usually is not indicative of any other neurological disorders. Stress or exhaustion may trigger episodes, which usually stop on their own over time and with reassurance that the phenomenon, though strange, is benign.

Ask the Brains: What Is Sleep Paralysis? (via MeFi)