Posts Tagged ‘exploding head syndrome’
Friday, January 18th, 2013
It’s an eerie sensation- you’re half-asleep, lying on your back, and suddenly you realize that you can’t move your body or utter a peep. Sleep paralysis may be comorbid with migraines, although the link is not exactly clear-cut.
About 30-40% of people will experience isolated sleep paralysis at least once in their lives, characterized by an unnerving sensation of being frozen, mute, or sometimes floating in space, aware of your surroundings but unable to rouse. Sleep paralysis can happen when you’re just waking up in the morning, or at night as you’re drifting off to sleep.
Time stretches to eternity, and seems to lose all meaning, even though the whole terrifying phenomenon lasts for a mere few minutes.
In many ways, the symptoms of sleep paralysis are strikingly similar to migraines with aura.
What is feels like
In the beginning, it can be a frightening, especially if the whole experience is new to you. For a relatively small percentage of people, sleep paralysis may occur with hallucinations or migraine headaches.
Patient stories of sleep paralysis are almost identical, bearing similar symptoms and circumstances. Common descriptions may include:
- Waking up, but feeling like your brain hasn’t registered that you’re no longer sleeping
- Having the sensation of something sitting on your chest, suffocating you
- Not being able to breath upon waking
- Feeling paralyzed, unable to move even a muscle
- Wanting to scream, but being unable to, as if still in a dream
- Being faintly aware of other people around you, and hearing them talking
- Sensing a “presence” in the room, sometimes as hallucination
- Hearing a loud ringing sound in your ears that starts out faint, but gets progressively louder
- Feeling a vibration in your head upon waking, which becomes a morning headache
- Sometimes, with exploding head syndrome, you wake up with an intense headache
- After 10 seconds, you suddenly jerk yourself awake
- You may see bright auras, lights and shapes behind your eyelids just before jolting yourself awake
What causes it?
Isolated sleep paralysis is explained as a temporary paralysis of the body that occurs just after waking up or while falling asleep- always during the twilight period between deep sleep and wakefulness.
Scientifically speaking, it occurs when your brain awakes during the REM sleep cycle, but your body remains “asleep.” You are aware, but unable to move, and may experience wide-awake dreams, hallucinations.
Causes and risk factors for sleep paralysis with hallucinations often include:
- High stress
- Panic attacks
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Erratic sleep schedule
- Environmental fluctuations
- Sleeping on your back
- Sleeping pills
Connection to migraines?
There seems to be a high correlation between migraines and sleep paralysis, if for no other reason than the fact that they seem to share certain “triggers.”
- Anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and extreme sensitivity to changes in the weather are all factors that influence migraine frequency and your likeliness of experiencing sleep paralysis.
- Sleep paralysis, when it occurs often, is a sleep disorder- another condition comorbid with migraines.
- Also, there’s the exploding head syndrome link, which has been described in a scientific study on sleep paralysis in connection with migraine aura.
- Antidepressants are a common treatment for migraines and sleep paralysis, as well.
What can you do?
The best advice, as given by your doctor, will be to relax, avoid caffeine in the afternoon, and try to get enough sleep.
If that alone doesn’t work, it helps to remind yourself when it occurs that it’s only temporary, and try to focus on moving even your little finger or nose, and that should trigger a wakeful response.
If necessary, your doctor may prescribe anti-depressants in order to provide relief from insomnia, sleep paralysis, and migraine.
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Image courtesy of public domain
Monday, October 17th, 2011
Night terrors often result from sleep apnea, stress, post-concussion syndrome, cluster headaches, or migraine headaches. Frequent sleep terrors cause insomnia, stress, and anxiety, leading to more migraine headache symptoms.
What are night terrors?
Have you ever woken up in the middle of a night and felt an odd sensation of falling backwards? Some people wake up suddenly in the middle of the night, jerked awake by a frightening dream, feeling of impending doom, or a migraine headache. Mostly, night terrors happen to children, but a small percentage of adults also suffer from frequent- and disconcerting- sleep terrors.
What causes night terrors?
Children may experience night terrors from nightmares, anxiety, fever, noise, or bedwetting. However, when adults experience night terrors, it is usually a result of some influencing factor. Some causes of night terrors in adults include the following:
- Lack of sleep
- Sleep apnea
- Stress, anxiety, or panic disorder
- Head injuries
- Drug interaction, including alcohol, street drugs, antihistamines, sleeping pills, and beta-blockers
- Migraine headaches
1) Migraine headaches
Characterized by throbbing head pain on one side of the head, other migraine symptoms include nausea, stomach cramping, visual distortions (migraine with aura), light sensitivity, and partial paralysis. Migraine attacks last for several hours, and possibly days. A night terror migraine may occur during the sleep stage 3 or sleep stage 4, or during REM sleep.
2) Cluster headaches
Nighttime cluster headaches cause intense pain on one side of the head, often felt behind the eye, temple, or cheekbone. Other symptoms of cluster headache include tearing at the eyes, stuffy nose, and profuse sweating at the hairline. A cluster headache attack strikes suddenly and vanishes suddenly, and generally lasts no longer than a few hours. Cluster headaches occur repeatedly in one 24-hour period, often striking consistently at the same time of day or evening. Cluster headache sufferers who experience nighttime attacks awaken with night terrors, causing them to feel fatigued and stressed during the day.
Is it a Cluster Headache or a Migraine?
3) Hypnic headaches
If you wake up early in the morning to a rude headache, then you might be suffering from hypnic headaches. Hypnic headaches are painful, but not symptomatic of any physical damage. Hypnic headaches usually last about one hour, and might occur because of a bad dream or early morning sleep terror.
7 Headache Symptoms you definitely shouldn’t ignore
4) Hypnic jerks
Hypnic jerks, or exploding head syndrome , are night terrors that often occur just as you’re drifting off to sleep, though they can also occur during any other sleep stage, including REM. Symptoms of exploding head syndrome include strong involuntary muscular twitches, unusual head sounds (cracking, popping, gunshot or explosions), sensation of “falling,” and brief lightning flashes, or aura. Unlike with hypnic headaches, hypnic jerks are not associated with head pain.
5) Chronic Paroxysmal Hemicrania (CPH)
Chronic paroxysmal hemicrania is similar to migraine headache, and causes a series of sharp, intense jabs of head pain in a row. Unlike cluster headaches, which may last hours, CPH head pain is shorter in duration. Like cluster headaches, chronic paroxysmal hemicrania occurs at the same time each day, usually in the night hours, causing night terrors.
6) Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder headaches
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder headaches are associated with bruxism; symptoms include involuntary teeth clenching and grinding, during both the day and night, resulting in jaw pain, headache, and muscular tension. TMJ disorder usually results from stress, but may also signify a misshapen jaw line. Nighttime teeth grinding occurs during stages 1 and stage 2 of sleep. People who suffer from chronic bruxism might awaken in the middle of the night with severe headache, disorientation, and anxiety.
Is it Migraine or TMJ Headache? Temporomandibular Disorder
7) Post-Concussion Syndrome
Somebody who has suffered a head injury, such as a concussion, is often prone to night terrors caused by memory loss, anxiety, depression, nervousness, or other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Are Sleep Seizures, Exploding Head Noises Causing Insomnia?
Night terrors- CNN.com
Sleep and Headaches
Sleep terrors (night terrors): Causes – MayoClinic.com
Causes Of Night Terrors- LIVESTRONG.COM
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
Hypnic Jerks while Falling Asleep- Hypnic jerks, or exploding head syndrome, are sleep disorders characterized by quick, sudden seizures that occur while falling asleep, and may cause insomnia.
Have you ever been on the verge of a deep asleep, only to be jolted awake by a terrifyingly loud crashing noise in your head? Hypnic jerks include symptoms like:
- Sudden, involuntary jerks while falling asleep
- Phantom sounds, such as popping, gunshot noises, and explosions, clashing cymbals, or banging sounds in the head
- Brief flashes of light
- Feeling of falling
- Electric charge
Also read: Rock On for More Sleep and Fewer Headaches
It’s not an obnoxious mind reader.
What is a hypnic jerk?
Hypnic jerks, also called “exploding head syndrome” or “sleep starts,” is a benign condition, causing sudden involuntary muscular twitches that occur within a few hours of falling asleep. In some cases, you might also hear a loud snapping or cracking noise inside your head, something akin to an explosion or a fired gunshot.
You’re not crazy, and you’re not having a stroke.
Are hypnic headaches normal?
First, there is no connection between these strange noises and the auditory hallucinations heard by the mentally ill. Second, while it is advisable to get a check-up, these symptoms alone probably don’t indicate anything life threatening, such as stroke. To ER or not to ER? 8 Migraine Signals that call for Emergency Care
However, if you experience severe headaches along with hypnic jerks, then you should call 911 right away.
Hypnic jerks- what they are, and what they’re not
What causes hypnic jerks?
As you fall asleep, your whole body unwinds; your muscles relax and your body temperature drops. During the shift from wakefulness to sleepiness, your brain sometimes “panics,” mistaking the sensation of falling asleep as actual, physical falling, hence the phenomenon.
Is a hypnic jerk kind of like a migraine with aura?
No. While some people who experience exploding head syndrome report seeing brief flashes of light, there is no correlation with migraine headaches. If you experience symptoms similar to hypnic jerks that accompany head pain, then you must report to your doctor immediately, in order to rule out stroke, or other life-threatening illness. Go Ask Alice: Migraine Auras in Wonderland
Who gets hypnic jerks?
Most people who experience hypnic jerks tend to be women who are over the age of 50, but they can happen to anybody of any age, male or female. In some cases, hypnic jerks can become habitual, leading to insomnia, especially if that person suffers from stress or panics over difficulty falling asleep. Some helpful stress-reduction techniques include cutting out caffeine, eating light, healthy meals, supplementing with vitamins and herbs, including 30 minutes of exercise per day, and practicing deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
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Get Some Sleep: Bang in your head waking you? It has a name- The Chart- CNN.com Blogs
Exploding head syndrome
Loud crash at 3 a.m.? It may be your exploding head