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Can Stress Cause Exploding Head Syndrome?

Exploding head syndrome or EHS is a type of parasomnia that involves a person to experience a loud bang inside his or her head. Exploding head syndrome is one of the most uncommon types of sleep disorders that its symptoms may vary in each person having attacks of EHS. Some people with EHS can hear loud noises, such as bomb explosion, gunshot, or clash of cymbals during sleep-to-wake or wake-to-sleep transition states, and sometimes, loud sounds will be accompanied by a bright flash of light or body jerks. Sounds heard during an attack of exploding head syndrome is so loud that it can make the person terrified and scared to go back to sleep.

Who is at risk for Exploding Head Syndrome?

Stress Triggers Exploding Head Syndrome

There is no pain and other physical symptoms associated with exploding head syndrome. Women are more often affected by EHS, especially after the age of 50 years old, and the average age for a person to first experience an attack of exploding head syndrome is 58 years old. However, children as young as 10 years old were reported to be affected with exploding head syndrome.

Stress and Exploding Head Syndrome

The cause or causes of exploding head syndrome is not yet known, however, there are evidences showing lack of sleep, over fatigue, and high levels of stress can trigger attacks of exploding head syndrome. Stress, over fatigue, and lack of sleep is believed to increase the possibility of an attack of EHS to occur. Attack of EHS may vary over time, and sometimes attacks may cease to occur for long periods of time. Exploding head syndrome is not life threatening, and managements may be done to help in preventing future attacks.

How to Manage Stress:

If the cause of attacks or episodes of exploding head syndrome, stress management can be done to reduce stressors and relieve stress, which can help in preventing future attacks of EHS. Stress management can include:

  • Yoga
  • Relaxation Techniques
  • Meditation
  • Breathing Exercises
  • Guided Imagery
  • Stress Ball
  • Get a Relaxing Massage
  • Reading Books

Sleep deprivation can also happen with stress and exploding head syndrome. To help in managing sleep deprivation, having a more balanced bedtime routine, which includes getting at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night, can help. If sleep deprivation is also caused by other medical conditions, it may be best to seek medical consult.