Exploding Head Syndrome – Harmless But Disturbing

cartoon explosionAre you sometimes woken by an unusually loud or frightening noise, but when you check your house or ask someone else, there’s no evidence that the noise really happened?

If so, it could be that you’ve experienced exploding head syndrome. This is a relatively uncommon sleep disorder which belongs in the parasomnia category.

It was first documented in 1920 by the scientist Armstrong-Jones, who described it as a ‘snapping of the brain’.

It was thought for a long time to be most common in people over the age of 50, with younger generations experiencing it less often.

However, researchers at Washington State University in 2015 found that many young people also experience exploding head syndrome. In their study, 18% of the 211 undergraduates they interviewed had experienced it in their lifetime, with 16.60% on a regular basis.

The name exploding head syndrome is misleading though, as it conjures up all kinds of horror film images. Fortunately, people who experience this do wake up with their heads intact!

To understand why it has such a dramatic name, let’s take a look at the symptoms.

Exploding head syndrome symptoms

1. The main symptom is imagining you hear a very loud and sudden sound, for example:

  • The sound of a bomb.
  • The sound of gunshot.
  • A loud clash of cymbals.
  • The sound of a door slamming.
  • An extremely loud rushing sound.
  • People screaming or shouting.
  • An electrical buzzing sound.
  • Any other loud sound which can’t be described exactly.

2. People don’t usually report feeling pain with exploding head syndrome. They may describe it as painful initially, but then reveal it’s just extremely loud. They may, however, be scared or upset when it wakes them up.

3. Exploding head syndrome is sometimes accompanied by a sensation of a flashing light.

4. People may feel it affects their breathing – with a gasping of breath or difficulty breathing on waking.

5. People may experience an episode of sleep paralysis, sometimes taking the form of a reported out-of-body experience.

6. An episode can last for between just a few seconds and a few minutes. It usually occurs when falling asleep or waking up, but not during the main stages of sleep.

The researcher J M Pearce conducted a detailed study of 50 patients with exploding head syndrome in 1989 to analyze what kinds of symptoms they experienced, which you can read here for further information.

Poll results

You can see from the graph below that fortunately the majority of readers don’t experience episodes of exploding head syndrome very often.

Out of 7,752 readers, 3,250 said they experience it rarely. Only 911 said they experience it nearly every day.

graph showing the exploding head syndrome poll results

Causes of exploding head syndrome

The causes of exploding head syndrome still aren’t properly understood, but there are two main theories that have been proposed:

  • Minor seizures in the temporal lobe.
  • Involuntary movements of parts of the ear, such as the tympanum (the ear drum), or the tensor tympani (the muscle involved in reducing sound – e.g. the sound of chewing food).

In his study, Pearce wasn’t so convinced by these explanations though; he believed it would be better to classify exploding head syndrome along with other biological mechanisms that occur when falling asleep.

This includes the muscular jerks that many people experience, known either as hypnic jerks, sleep starts or nocturnal myoclonus.

More recently in 2010, the researchers Thorpy and Plazzi also wrote that they believe exploding head syndrome is a variant of hypnic jerks. They believe it’s more likely to be a variant of sleep starts than a parasomnia. They conclude that:

The EHS is a benign, usually self-limited, condition that is likely a sensory variant of the hypnic jerk. No testing or medications are necessary when the history is typical. Educations and reassurance are the cornerstones of therapy. If the symptoms occur multiple times a night and cause insomnia, a hypnotic may be useful.


1. Talk to your primary care doctor if you’re concerned by your symptoms. Your doctor can help reassure you that it’s harmless. And they may prescribe medication such as clomipramine.

2. There have been limited attempts to work out which other medications can help. There’s still isn’t a cure for EHS, but researchers have had some success with Tompimirate, Clonezapam, Clomipramine and Nifedipine. You can find out more about the effectiveness of these in this study.

3. Stress is known to be a factor that can increase the frequency and intensity of some parasomnias and sleep starts. If you suffer from stress or anxiety at night, you might find it helpful to try some specific relaxation techniques before sleeping.

4. Being very tired is thought to increase the likelihood of some parasomnias and sleep starts. So try to keep to a stable sleep schedule, and make lifestyle choices following the guidance of good sleep hygiene.

5. It’s important not to become anxious about falling asleep. Try not to worry that you’ll experience exploding head syndrome and that something bad will happen to you. Although it’s understandably quite disturbing, it’s not known to have any damaging effect on you.

Your thoughts

(Please read before leaving a comment)

I’d like to thank all the many readers who’ve shared their story and offered ideas and support to others.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to respond personally to any more comments on this article due to time constraints.

However, I’ll leave the comments open so that you can continue to share your thoughts, and communicate with other readers who have similar experiences.




1,666 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I’ve looked for answers all my life. For me, everytime the loud bang happens, ( not terribly often and I rarely dream), it will scare me awake. I try to stay awake because if I sleep it is always followed by a jumbled dream, and fragments of the dream always come true and is usually tragedy. Sometimes up to 3 years for it all to happen like the dream. It’s a strange topic, and I have always felt are some way connected to neutrinos. Not sure why I feel that, but cannot find any other scientific explanation for premonition as I’m extremely logical and not a hocus pocus believer. I do have faith in a higher power, which usually deems premonitions as evil in human explanation. So that stops there as well, it’s only unexplained science like reincarnation only a genetic DNA memory that naivety still does not accept.
    My situation never allows me to recognize faces or names, only situations, do I can never warn anyone sadly, only to make the connection and time is always exact of the happening correlating to the sound of the bang.
    If I’m awake it’s momentary deafness or whirring, sometimes the sound of birds taking flight.
    There was once that I saved my brother from a stabbing by calling to see if he was in danger and there was in fact an intruder with a knife in his home as he slept.
    It’s nice to be able to just share this. Thanks for that. Can’t tell people this stuff- instantly deemed “ crazy”.

  • I have anxiety, slight epilepsy & am being treated with Vimpat. In the last two weeks I have woken up 3 times frightened by a crashing sound. I run to the door to see if someone has crashed into our cars. So after this has happened so many times I decided to Google. And found the EHS possibility. I’m glad I found something and it’s not in my head or I’m imagining. My nerves have also been worse. I have the shakes really bad and have hives on my hands and feet. Can anybody give me any insight? Greatly appreciated

    • Hi Monica
      Is the Vimpat a new medication for you? I would talk to your doctor about the shaking, nerves and hives, as well as the possible EHS symptoms. They should be able to reassure you, and decide if you’re tolerating the drug ok.

  • I’am only 15 and have had this problem for a while now, and it gets really frustrating. This mostly happens when I stay up watching cartoons on my iPad, then try to go to sleep after. But then I keep getting this “electric-fuzzy” feeling in my head. It got to the point where I was annoyed, and when I thought it was gone, it keeps coming back. Not to long ago it happened, it was like a bee flying near my ear. I couldn’t move any parts of my body accept for my hand which I clinched into a fist, it seemed like. My worst experience was of a firework which totally got my heartrate jumping. In these types of situations I try to breathe, and sometimes I can’t. I get these episodes mostly when the sun is up. To me, this is not all that frightening, though it can be at some times. But mostly, I think of it mostly interesting. That’s why I’am writing this long paragraph, it’s to interesting not to talk about. And I have more interesting episodes than this.

  • I have never been the best sleeper and put down the recent noises I’ve been hearing to my imagination but as this is happening more often, in fact, sadly nearly every night I started to think what the hell is going on? I hear a noise, wake up and sometimes, not always, see what can only be likened to a lightening strike across my eyes. At first i though i had been overdoing the technology, surfing the net too close to bedtime….however laying off it hasn’t helped :(
    I struggle terribly to get back to sleep afterwards because of course this sets my heart rate and brain going.
    Am I stressed…not really…but i am a worrier, one of those people who have to dissect everything to try and find an answer. Some things have been bothering me lately, so i am going to keep a diary of things and see if there’s a pattern evolving. If not, and i really hope not (see I’m worrying) i will approach my GP and see what they say.
    Incidentally i turned 50 last August and this started…roughly 5 months later!

  • I think I just experienced this for the first time. I woke up to the sound a person’s voice saying “Hi”, but it was so loud it was as if they were talking right into my ear with a booming sound, not like a pleasant greeting. I was completed spooked by it but no one else around me heard it, and it was too close to be my neighbours or someone on the phone.
    I too have had a very stressful week, very little sleep and have had a blocked up head for a few nights due to a virus. It’s great to know what this could have been and that I am not suddenly channelling paranormal voices.

    • I have been going through this almost every night for the past few weeks. It almost sounds like that Devil voice from the movie The Amityville Horror saying “Get Out” It is so loud that I wake up shaking and crying. My heart is beating out of my chest. I didn’t want to go to the doctor because I’m afraid they will think I’m crazy.

    • I was reading this article thinking this has never happenes to me until I noticed what you said. Now i realise that i had dream similar to yours. Thank you, i wouldn’t have known.

  • Just found this. Never heard of it, “exploding head” but I guess that it what I have.

    I have been woke up because I’ve heard one of my kids calling me from across the house and that kid doesn’t live here. That has happened several times.

    But at 2:00 am this morning, I’m not sure if this was a dream or real, but I heard the door bell, knocking and someone trying the door. I got up and ran to the door thinking maybe it was one of my kids…nobody there.

    Usually my cat gets spooked at the smallest things, but she was still sleeping at the foot of the bed.

    It just seems like I still heard it when I woke up, but after reading this, I’m even more unsure and feel like this may have been another episode. Freaked me out!!!

  • I experience this occasionally and last night was probably the worst. It definitely creates severe anxiety and rapid breathing each time. I do feel it happens when I am very tired and have increased anxiety. I’ve had sleep paralysis for many years also. I’m sorry for anyone that experiences this. It’s not pleasant at all.

  • I just got back into bed after going to see who was at my front door because 3 loud knocking sounds woke me up. Again. Third time in a week. Needless to say nobody is at the door. A bit annoying and a little spooky as soon as it wakes me up. I took a moment just now to Google it. Eeek.

  • I experienced something like this when I was about 6. I experienced an explosion in my head, almost like someone hit my head but it didn’t hurt, then bright white light, followed by ringing in my ears, and paralysis in the fetal position. The other strange thing was I saw a large white glowing light appeared in the doorway of my room, and then was suddenly at my bed side. I felt like it reached out and hit my head before the above mentioned symptoms occurred.

  • This just happened to me and I about had a heart attack. Scared the heck out of me. It was just a loud buzzing then a flash as I was falling asleep. Thought something bad happened.

  • I noticed I would get some weird sounds happening to me just when I laid my head down on the bed and started getting sleepy. I would hear a clicking sound, a swishing sound or a bang. I’m over 50 and this started around a year ago when alot of stressful things were happening in my family. These sounds would occur separately and would happen may be once a week. Now they seem to be going away, thank God. Wasn’t scared but thought maybe it was a symptom of old age. I was amazed when my daughter found these articles on Exploding Head Syndrome. Laughed when I heard that name. Can’t imagine how people would react if I told them that’s what I had experienced. Very funny. I’m ok because I know that I am in God’s hands. Bless you all. I will pray for you.

  • I’ve had bangs, flashes, and clicks waking me up. Most of this started during a period of great stress. The clicks often accompanied the flash; more strangely I’ve also experienced—more commonly, as I recall—the perception of a light being turned off. Which makes no sense, the room being thoroughly pitch black.

    I’m awakened by a sudden… darkness, this would also sometimes be accompanied by a click (which click doesn’t happen anymore); giving the disturbing impression in those days that someone was surveilling the window late at night with a flashlight (=a “torch”, more aptly named in UKspeak), which they clicked off… being satisfied with their inspection .

    I’ve searched the innertubez for anyone else with this turned-off-light variation of sleep-start oddity. It must be exceptionally rare.

    • This may be the same, or it may be ambiguous; perhaps she means like a “flash bulb going off”, I don’t know.
      ” Julie Mai says:
      December 27, 2017 at 8:49 pm
      I been experiencing like a light blub going off whilst sleeping. Sleepless night is.now making me sick. Also diagnosed with thyhoid so.not easy at all.”

    • This is closer, except the person isn’t actually asleep.
      Dixie says:
      January 30, 2017 at 4:42 pm
      I experienced this last night. I was laying in bed watching my daughter in her swing next to my bed. It was dark but I had been up long enough for my eyes to adjust so I could see her fairly well then all of a sudden my vision went black, almost like there was a light on that someone turned off.

  • I’ve had this happen in the past, Only this morning after my husband went to work around 4:30 it was particularly loud and alarming, this provoked me to look up what it could be. This time my heart was racing so hard that it took 30 minutes to go back to sleep. This time it was my husband shouting my name but he was gone, About half an hour later after I fell back asleep I heard the baby gate shake loudly like when our cat blender jumps over it, but he was asleep beside me. I have been suffering from an extremely painful frontal sinus infection and I was trying to find out if that may have been the cause, but I also have been having a very stressful week with my youngest son, who has disorders that cause me extreme stress. I hope it doesn’t happen again because I suffer from tachycardia on a daily, and this was like my chest was going to explode afterwards, they should call it exploding heart syndrome, not exploding head syndrome.

  • Since I was very young I’ve heard things right as I’m about to start dreaming. Its been sound from someone screaming a loud boom and the one I hear the most is a loud door slamming. I had no clue there was an actual diagnosis I just thought I was crazy. Imagine my relief to find this article. I feel very upset and a rapid heart beat upon waking. There has been times its frighten me so bad that I can’t get back to bed and feel the need to either turn my tv or light on. It doesn’t hurt its just really freaky. No one else in the house hears it and they are all sleeping soundly when it happens. What helps it not happen is to turn my tv to one of those soothing music tv channels.

  • I had such a strong experience last night it disturbed me so much I couldn’t go back to sleep.
    I woke hearing a load (male) voice screaming and felt as if the bed was shaking. I woke in a panic, however, my little dog was asleep which was reassuring as she would be going ‘nuts’ if there was a real life issue. the shaking was very much like the recent South West earthquake and very brief, the screaming was disturbing. I don’t remember that I was dreaming. very weird, I live alone, so it seemed even more upsetting.
    I have had previously on a couple of occasions a ‘booming’ sound in my head, and have researched before but never what sounded like a physical voice and a physical feeling.
    I am very stressed at the moment and not sleeping properly so putting it down to this! :(

  • Are we 100 percent certain that people aren’t suffering from paranormal experiences in their sleep, that we are know trying to normalize? Why would these sounds differ, if this was indeed a condition. Shouldn’t it be consistent? Sometimes, medicine isn’t the answer.

    • I slept in a rv park the summer 2017, it happenened to me just at the begining of sleep and what seemed like several times a night. My first thought was the spirit world screaming in my ear like a portal of a sort. Its very difficult to say what it sounded like cause i have nothing to compare it to. Now when i sleep, i vivid dreams trying to wake up out a dream and it goes on what seems like hours of fighting to wake up. Bizzarre # im tired.

  • Hi all i suffer with this and just lately its been quite frequently :( I’ve got anixity coming just thinking about it. it’s awful I’ve had lots of noises someone’s voice shouting “dead” in my ear! Yes I was totally freaked then this same sound as been quite often like a sharp metal shutter sound like 2x metal blades or something hitting together that has been the more ear peircing jeez doesnt half make u jump!! And last night was like 2x pebbles wacking together but still really loud takes u awhile to go back off as they are frightening and does bring a panicky anitixy attack on I’m a busy mum of 5 youngest boy has development delay so my days are sometimes stressful not sure if that triggers it or not? X

  • Hi all, I’m glad this site is here.
    My experience is when I go to sleep, I hear like a wave of white noise, like waves crashing inside my ear, and it gets more intense as I try and fall asleep.
    It happens over and over again with rising intensity.
    I’d say it’s painful, if there was actually pain, but I feel fine if I get up.
    It happens again sometimes right afterwards once I try and go back to sleep, sometimes not.
    I don’t know what to do.
    It drives me crazy.
    There’s sometimes a popping noise that happens, or voices of my imagination that accompanys it often.
    It does feel like my head is going to explode if I don’t get up.
    It’s definitely alarming to the point where my heart is racing.
    If anyone has any idea what to do for it, please let us know…
    This is harsh.
    Thank you !
    Les xo

    • Just read your description…& Omg…its 100% what my description would be. I’ve had this several times in the past but had my worst ever about an hour ago. It must have went on for about 30 mins off & on…progressively got more intense. I’m shaking so bad now- I’m honestly scared to lay down now in fear I might doze off. Thank you for sharing your experience. God only knows why it helps to feel like someone else somewhere has felt like this before…and they lived to tell about it (so theres hope yet). But seriously-its very difficult to explain the experience to someone else. As I was already thinking myself insane. Hope you’re having sweet uneventful sleep right now. Thanks again for sharing your experience.

  • Wow! It’s amazing that I had just found this article. At about 4:30 in the morning this previous night, I was deep into a dream that was extremely Vivid. I was driving and a car with my husband and two of my kids. the time setting appeared to be in like the early 1900s. My dream went black. It’s almost like I had come out of REM state and was subconsciously awake. Then I heard a loud explosion. Like a car, or a house blowing up. I felt myself dying for 3 short seconds, then popped my eyes open to check on my kids who were laying next to me. My breathing was rapid, my heart pounding. Very anxious at that moment. It was the strangest thing! Definitely an out of body experience.

  • Happened to me from the first time tonight,34yo I never sleep on my back which I had flallen to sleep watching a movie with no such noise in it,I woke at 4:49am was only asleep for 2 min and it’s like a rifle went off next to my head. It’s 5:33 no and my ears are still ringing. I’m also sleep deprived from work. My conclusion is lack of sleep, muscles being tense from work and laying on my back with my neck arched all went together to make this happen. Glad this site is here.

  • Brilliant article and comments. Had this on and off since I was a teenager (72 now) and always puzzled. When young it was a “bong” as if someone has plucked a very long musical string. Later, it was like twanging a ruler on the edge of a desk. Now, it’s a cross between electrical buzz and the horn of a very large vehicle. Always when falling asleep. THANK YOU for the clarification!

  • Just this morning. Was waking up again having laid back down after dealing with my dogs. I was just drifting when I heard a very loud pop/squeeking sound. I knew it was not external. I bolted up as I thought I was having a stroke. No pain, no numbness, no other symptoms of stroke. I remembered an interview with Bret Michaels who suffered strokes, he discribe a very loud pop in his head and knew he had limited time to get to hospital. That’s probably what scared me about this experience. I have had, door slam, hearing someone yell my name, etc. They never scared me like this one. Those were common external sounds. This one I recognized as coming from the left side of head. The theory that it could have something he to do with ear movement, although not proven, makes some sense to me as I was sruggling with TMJ before sleeping. My jaw, was popping and my ear was cloggged. I’m also getting over a sinus/upper respiratory thing. So I actually found a little comfort in reading that.

  • Seems I was dreaming of holding a glass? bowl which burst into bits with a loud bang. This happened as I was dropping off to sleep.Frightening.

  • I have experienced this frequently before, and always assumed that it’s just what happened when I was going into a dream state, perceiving audible things that were loud enough to have sounded real, but quickly cut off as I pulled back into wakefulness; maybe because I realized I wasn’t quite asleep and these noises weren’t real, or because they woke me up, probably both! I never thought to talk about it with anyone, but I honestly thought it was completely normal. I had never heard of EHS before. It usually isn’t startling for me. However, there are times when it can be, as for instance I thought I heard my dad screaming or yelling, a few times before I fell asleep, and that was kind of scary. It definitely took me a good few minutes to get back to sleep after that. Normally, I hear loud orchestra-like sounds, a loud murmuring crowd, or any singular voice of unidentifiable speech, like a regular conversation, but without perceptible words. It could be my mom talking on the phone or sound like my brother having a conversation with me. They’ll last for all but a few seconds and then they stop. These are what they usually revolve around, and 9 times out of 10 aren’t usually scary. I can only remember once that I heard glass shattering, and that was definitely loud enough to wake me up! Because I wrote these things off as just dreaming, it never alarmed me in a way that I thought I might be in danger. It’s obvious that this is an occurrence that has a lot more questions than answers. I get the night jerks too. Sometimes it’s hard to fall back asleep because of this. It would be interesting to find out more about why this only happens to some of us. I wish good luck to others out there looking for reassurance and answers! Sleep well friends :)

  • For me, it’s screaming. It’s weird because if it happens when I wake up, I find myself frightened for a moment. However, if I’m falling asleep, it startles and then annoys me because I was beginning to fall asleep. I was starting to think I was insane, so I’m relieved to find that not only am I not going crazy but it’s also harmless.

  • My door slamming loud noise made me get my pistol and I waited
    For someone to burst into my bedroom…this is only the second time
    To have this event but was exactly the same door slam so I waited
    Awake and all was normal…I was hoping it was EHS cause I had read
    About it the first time it occured so I guess I’m lucky if it only happed
    Twice..but think I will need a nap this afternoon!

  • It used to scare the heck out of me. It hasn’t happened in a while, but did this AM. Always happens in a half sleepy state of awake/asleep, heard a single bark of what sounded like a german shepherd in my ear. Like loud, right in my ear!
    But these weird “phantom” noises have been happening for about 11 yrs now. Most recently, dog.
    When it first started happening it was either a “bang” or someone in my ear whispery yell “BA!”. I thought there was someone in my apartment! But it was so loud in my ear and nobody next to me. After 2 more times i thought i was goin crazy, cause i knew there was nothing externally causing the sound. I knew it must be me- when i started hearing a short quick bark like a german shepherd. I have only a cat. It is startling, yet have no fear of reality anymore ( ie. There is no dog in my room).
    In 11 yrs it has only happened maybe 20x max. And it has been the dog sound, most recently. Always loud short sounds, seems like, right at the edge of my ear, alarming. I am relieved i am not the only one. I hate that it makes me feel crazy.

    • For me it is a really loud bang, almost like a shotgun going off right beside me. It happens most to me when I’m kinda half in and out of sleep. Scares the shit out of me sometimes

  • It is my contention that this is for the most part, a supernatural event contrary to what conventional medical science would lend you to believe. Most people just blow it off as something weird that happens but they don’t really talk about it or know why it happens. The notion that something is occurring beyond the scope of what we can see or hear can’t be substantiated by empirical studies alone. The supernatural sciences are still considered fringe and are largely discounted.

    • I don’t want anyone to believe my theory because that is what it is a theory and a strange one so it’s more like my imagination ok I believe just like we have electricity that travels in a cable or wifi that travels I believe thoughts may travel or thoughts may be received and I think the pop or bang is a warning that some one may be thinking or plotting about doing harm to you or your family so I think it’s a warning but nothing to be scared about or stressed about just to be more alert and pay attention to details and keep yoursending and your family’s safety of importance my science view would be that the atmosphere is charged much like when thunder is created causing a thunder sound in our head

  • I have experienced this since I can remember. I am 37 now. I do also have the jerks occasionally upon falling asleep.
    When I was younger it sounded like knocks nearby.. now I hear loud knocks or sometimes almost a hammering sound similar to construction.
    At one time it frightened me. A few times I even got up and opened my door, so convinced it was real!! I have dogs now and it helps because when I wake up from hearing crazy noises or knocks and my dog isn’t barking I know it wasn’t real.

  • I’ve just woke to the sound of a door slamming and yet again as I walk through the house, nothing is shut and all is fine. I feel crazy and can’t sleep now, since I woke thinking someone had broke into our house. My kids and husband are sound asleep so they didn’t hear it. I’ve had this happen about 3 times now in the last couple months. I always check the time when I wake and it’s always an hour or so after falling asleep. I feel better after reading this article but still will lay here wondering if I really heard a door slamming before I’m able to go back asleep. If I have exploding head syndrome I’d feel better but I guess there’s no way to know. I don’t see lights or anything. Just the door slamming that wakes me from what I feel was a pretty decent sleep. So yes I wake both racing heart and kinda unnerved.

  • Hi, I’ve been hearing loud bangs or knocking for about 10 years, which wakes me up instantly. Also I have woken up on the odd occasion catching my breath as I feel like I’ve stopped breathing ( very scary )
    I do work a lot of hours (72+) a week and I’m an ex soldier having served and experienced many difficult & traumatic situations. Also had a difficult childhood. I’m just wondering if any of these events may be causing me to hear the noises & feeling of suffocation as I sleep ? And No I’ve never been to my doctor to report this as I don’t want him calling me mad .

  • I been experiencing like a light blub going off whilst sleeping. Sleepless night is.now making me sick. Also diagnosed with thyhoid so.not easy at all.

  • I’ve had this occasionally for probably 10-15 years. It’s always as I’m falling asleep, never any other time. I’ve had migraines since about age 6, maybe that’s relevant. The sounds I hear are like someone smacking 2 cooking pots together right by my head, or someone yelling my name, or other non-identifiable, sudden, loud sounds. I also often have hypnogogic jerks, as I’m falling asleep. Very interested in finding out what causes these things. They have never alarmed me; just thought it was some kind of brain fart.

  • This happened to me last night first time I have ever experienced anything like this I was asleep then all of a sudden there was this loud bang it was like something had punched a hole in to this world really scared me my heart was racing fast I got up looked around the house my kids were still asleep and as was my partner the wired thing was tho was my ears sort of seemed like they was ringing for a bit so wired

  • I have had this for the last 4/5 years , it comes and goes , I can go weeks with nothing at all then several nights in a row , usually as I’m going to sleep , have got used to it now , I call it my brain shut down , sometimes it’s annoying , but as everything seems to function normally next day , i try to forget it

  • Just happened again. Usually it is doorbells (not my own) or knocking (again, not my own door). This time it was 4 loud gunshots. I had been asleep about 4 hours or so. Usually, for me, it happens on awakening instead of falling asleep, OR I just happen to wake after it happens. It definitely is a nervous system disorder. I have had it my entire life, but it increased after menopause, as many things do increase with intensity. I am a young 52 years old. I have also been diagnosed with migraines and currently I am not taking my Topimax. Perhaps I should. Often I have woken to the thought that I just had a seizure. If so, it is was not a grand mal. My sleep-deprived EEG shows abnormal waves, but I cannot remember which one. Also, it reads cannot rule out or distinguish between seizure and migraine. Personal thoughts as a medical professional myself: I believe these are seizures occurring most likely in the temporal lobe, hence the sounds. I believe they are related to an anxiety disorder, which is the result of an overactive nervous system. Now, I think I will take something to calm my nerves. Any one of these, not all together, will work: xanax, gabapentin, 10 mg adult dose melatonin. Good luck everyone. Whew, I am shook up.

  • Last night when I was in a deep sleep, dreaming, I felt what could only be described as cattle prod or concrete vibrator in my ear area. I was sleeping on my right side and the zap was on the right. I awoke instantly, wide-eyed and said ” what the f#$% was that! ” Didn’t scare me and after I went to the can, fell back to sleep. No pain or any other reactions. Perplexing.

  • This literally just happened to me a few minutes ago. I was just STARTING to fall asleep and I heard a very loud “CHOO!” that sounded like a demonic digital thing yelling. Scared the hell outta me, my heart is still pounding and even after reading this I don’t wanna go to sleep. 😔

  • Is there anyone out there who has EHS during the day while awake? I laughed when I read that some people has as many as 7 a night. . How about 20 to 30 a day? I just looked to my left to pick up a glass of water and BOOM. I don not find them frightening, not even annoying anymore , just interesting. I get them so often I hardly notice them anymore.

    • Hi Leah,
      Yes I get hypnic jerks in the back of my neck throughout the day on occasions, they can be quite loud and I can feel my neck pumping. Maybe more so when I am tired as I don’t sleep well at night.
      The cause of not sleeping is that there is a knocking noise in the floor or wall at the back of my bed. You would think that would be easy to fix but I have had all the floorboards up several times, cushioned all the piping and checked all the woodwok in the roof. Will it stop, no chance.
      Every night, usually about 1.30 am, 3.30 am, 5.45 and 7.50am for about 20 minutes. My house is right on the edge of town with farm land next door. No industry. I sometimes wonder if it is in my head, it is driving me nuts.
      Tonight I am going to sleep in my office upstairs to see if I can get a good nights sleep.

    • I was wondering about that as well. I have EHS during times of stress. I get loud bangs while trying to sleep and, more often, the dark room fills with light two or three times as I am trying to drift off. Yesterday, though, I was awake and I went to reach for something, and it felt like I had brushed my arm up against something very hot. The burn was in one thumbsize spot for nearly a minute. I’ve had these electrical misfires before but not like this, and not while wide awake. It was very disturbing. I ended up with a migraine and the lights were very bad once I was finally able to try and sleep.

  • this happens to me somewhat frequently and the pattern seems to be that it happens when I sleep on my back, and if I’m particularly stressed out about not waking up on time or if I just had a stressful dream. It happens mostly as I’m waking up, though I’ve experienced it while falling asleep.
    The noises are usually the sound of a loud explosion, electrical buzzing, or a man shouting my name in distress ( this one freaked me the hell out) .
    It feels a lot like the stuff I hear if I’m having a sleep paralysis episode, except I don’t feel like I can’t move.

  • I’ve had this off and on throughout my adult life, usually during times when I have work-related stress. I have heard multiple versions of it, knocking on my door, a loud sudden buzzing sound (like an electrical shock), and a sudden loud bang sound. In the case of the electrical buzzing and explosions, I woke up with my heart racing. I have also experienced sleep paralysis upon waking from sleep but only once or twice. It certainly is an interesting phenomenon but super annoying when you are just trying to take a nap and now you can’t because your heart is racing at 180 bpm.

  • yikes, i was 2 seconds away from sleep and i just heard a very loud man growling inside my head. woke me up real quick haha, not sure i have this but i’m pretty creeped out

    • Same exact thing happened to me last night… scared the crap out of me. Glad I read this article. Made falling back asleep a little easier.

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