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A new study has discarded our previous belief about the “exploding head syndrome” as it has found that the health condition is specifically common in young people.
The ‘exploding head syndrome’ as the name suggests is a health condition which causes a person to awake due to loud, but nonexistent, abrupt noises or even because of a sensation of explosion inside the head.
In the Washington State University study, the researchers found that almost one in five interviewed students said they had faced the psychological phenomenon at least once. Other students said that their experience was so bad as it had a remarkable impact on their lives.
The syndrome generally occurs when a person fall asleep. According to the researchers, it’s possibly the result of a hiccup in the mechanisms in the brain when it is in the process of turning off.
During the ‘exploding head’ phenomenon, the auditory neurons crash at once instead of turning off gradually and slowly. The shutdown is heard with a bang to the person only, the researchers suggest.
Brian Sharpless, director and an assistant professor of the psychology clinic of the Washington State University, said, “That’s why you get these crazy-loud noises that you can’t explain, and they’re not actual noises in your environment.”
18 percent of the total participants in the study, who had experienced the exploding head syndrome at least once, said that they also had experienced occurrences of isolated sleep paralysis, a condition in which a person is unable to talk or move after waking up.
According to the scientists, the same area of the brain stem is involved in both phenomena. The brain area is called the reticular formation.
The findings were published in the Journal of Sleep Research.