According to researchers at Washington State University, exploding head syndrome is unexpectedly affecting a high percentage of the younger population.
Brian Sharpness and his team of psychologists and graduate students, who were specifically trained to recognize symptoms of exploding head syndrome and isolated sleep paralysis, interviewed a total of 211 college students, making it the largest study of its kind.
The sleep disorder is characterized by being awakened by sudden, non-existent loud noises, sometimes with a sensation of an explosion happening inside the person’s brain for seconds at a time. It can easily lead someone to believe they are experiencing a seizure or an unnatural event and normally happens when a person is falling asleep, with the theory that it occurs when the brain malfunctions when it’s shutting down.
Published in the Journal of Sleep Research, the researchers found that nearly 1 in 5, or 18%, of their study participants had experienced exploding head syndrome at least once, with more than one-third of those who had been affected have experienced isolated sleep paralysis as well.
As smaller, less thorough studies have theorized that the exploding head syndrome only affects people older than 50, Sharpness’ research is groundbreaking and quite surprising among the sleep research community. Without access to treatment and support from the very few clinicians who even assess for the sleep disorder, many of participants in his study have been significantly impacted by its severity.
Sharpness says that the findings may help ease the fears of many people who don’t have any explanation for they are experiencing. Currently, the treatment available can help turn down the volume on symptoms, but not completely get rid of them. To learn more about the symptoms of exploding head syndrome, click here!