Sleep Education

American Academy of Sleep Medicine 

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Exploding Head Syndrome – Diagnosis & Treatment


You should see a sleep specialist if exploding head causes you great anxiety or often disrupts your sleep. 

The doctor will need to know when the imagined sounds began. He or she will want to know how often they occur and how long they last. The doctor will need to know your complete medical history. Be sure to inform him or her of any past or present drug and medication use. 

Also tell your doctor if you have ever had any other sleep disorder. Find out if you have any family members with sleep problems. It will also be helpful if you fill out a sleep diary for two weeks. The sleep diary will help the doctor see your sleeping patterns. This data gives the doctor clues about what is causing your problem and how to correct it. 

Tests are not normally needed for someone who has exploding head syndrome. Your doctor may have you do an overnight sleep study if your problem is severely disturbing your sleep. This study is called a polysomnogram. It charts your brain waves, heart beat, and breathing as you sleep. It also records how your arms and legs move. This study will help reveal if the imagined sounds are related to any other sleep disorder.


If you notice exploding head symptoms while you are sleep deprived, then try to get more sleep every night. Most people need between six and eight hours of sleep per night. 

If stress triggers exploding head symptoms, then you should consider some form of relaxation. This will help prevent stress and exploding head events. Stress relief could include short walks, reading before bed, yoga, or whatever works for you. Alcohol is a poor form of stress relief and causes sleep disruptions.

There is some evidence that the medicine clomipramine may help in treating exploding head symptoms. If you feel you need medications, then it is best to see a sleep specialist or your doctor.