Get Some Sleep: Bang in your head waking you? It has a name
Many people have dealt with waking up with a sudden start, called a hypnic jerk. A similar condition adds loud noise to a wakeup.
August 16th, 2011
01:05 PM ET

Get Some Sleep: Bang in your head waking you? It has a name

Lisa Shives, M.D., is the founder of Northshore Sleep Medicine in Evanston, Illinois. She blogs regularly on The Chart. Read more from her at Dr. Lisa Shives’ Sleep Better Blog.

Most of us have drifted off to sleep, only to awaken with a sudden start. This is a benign occurrence known as a hypnic jerk.

There is a similar condition in which people awaken suddenly because they hear a loud noise in their head. They usually describe it as a loud bang or an explosion. In fact, this phenomenon is called exploding head syndrome.

Like hypnic jerks (or sleep starts), this is a completely benign condition. A hypnic jerk can accompany the clash of cymbals that people hear. Even though benign, it can be very disturbing to experience, and people often think that they are having a stroke.

It is certainly wise to seek medical attention the first time this occurs, especially if it is associated with a headache, because headaches are not a common feature of this disorder. In fact, to make the diagnosis, there should not be a significant pain component. Patients do sometimes report a flash of light occurring simultaneously with the loud bang.

If the headache is severe and persists, then indeed hemorrhagic stroke is a possibility and emergency services should be sought.

When patients bring this to a doctor’s attention, it is usually because it occurs frequently. Patients become concerned that even if the bomb in their head was not a stroke in the past, perhaps it is a symptom foretelling a stroke. There is no evidence that this is the case, even when the awakenings happen frequently.

It could be a sleep-related migraine (even without pain), and simple partial seizures can present with sensory symptoms. However, the symptom would usually not occur only at sleep onset or when awakening, as is the case with exploding head syndrome.

This can present at any age but is most common in people older than 50. Women report it more than men, but as is often the case, it may be that they are more likely than men to seek medical attention.

If many episodes occur in a night or if they are clustered in a time period of days or weeks, then patients can have disrupted sleep and insomnia. Usually, exploding head syndrome has a spontaneous remission. I know of no cases in the literature where this continued relentlessly, although there are reports of cyclical reoccurrence.

As with many medical problems, people report a worsening of attacks when they have an increase in stress or a decrease in sleep. There is a report that a medication used for seizures and migraines, topiramate, was useful in controlling this unpleasant symptom. Again, the first time this happens, it is important to receive a thorough medical evaluation just to be sure that other disorders are ruled out.

The information contained on this page does not and is not intended to convey medical advice. CNN is not responsible for any actions or inaction on your part based on the information that is presented here. Please consult a physician or medical professional for personal medical advice or treatment.

Follow CNNHealth on Twitter

Post by:
Filed under: Sleep

soundoff (747 Responses)
  1. trailer repair nearby


    June 4, 2021 at 22:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. tadalafil uses

    what is tadalafil cost tadalafil generic tadalafil citrate powder

    June 5, 2021 at 04:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Sprinter Van Repair Los Angeles


    June 5, 2021 at 11:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. camera shop california


    June 5, 2021 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. amazon jobs near me


    June 5, 2021 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Digital Marketing Near Me


    June 5, 2021 at 13:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Sprinter Return Line Repair

    Very good info. Lucky me I ran across your site by accident (stumbleupon). I have saved it for later!


    June 5, 2021 at 15:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Dodge Sprinter Repair Service

    Hi! I just would like to offer you a big thumbs up for your great info you have got right here on this post. I will be returning to your site for more soon.


    June 5, 2021 at 21:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. tadalafil generic

    toptada cialis cost mambo 36 side effects

    June 5, 2021 at 21:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Tonisha Rouhoff

    Good article. I certainly love this site. Keep it up!


    June 5, 2021 at 21:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. generic cialis

    tadalafil vs vardenafil cialis 20 mg tadalafil pah

    June 5, 2021 at 21:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Sprinter Repair Costs


    June 6, 2021 at 10:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. bay door repair


    June 6, 2021 at 11:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. watch repair near me


    June 6, 2021 at 18:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. doctors for hydroxychloroquine

    chloroquine phosphate cvs hydroxychloroquine over the counter chloroquinw

    June 6, 2021 at 20:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Kick The Butt Vapor Hut

    Has anyone visited Vape Nation? 😉


    June 6, 2021 at 21:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. where to buy aralen

    hydroxychloroquine treats what dolquine what is hydroxychloroquine prescribed for

    June 6, 2021 at 22:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. 2500 Sprinter Van Repair

    This is a very good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate informationÖ Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!


    June 7, 2021 at 03:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. hydroxychloroquine vidal

    chloroquine phosphate cvs cure for covid 19 chloroquine drug class

    June 7, 2021 at 04:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. tadalafil goodrx

    tadagra 20 cheapest tadalafil cost what is erectafil

    June 7, 2021 at 08:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. buy chloroquine online

    hydrochloquine buy chloroquine hydroxochloriquine

    June 7, 2021 at 17:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. body shop supplies lemon grove


    June 8, 2021 at 02:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Best Diesel Sprinter Repair Service

    That is a great tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Brief but very precise informationÖ Thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!


    June 8, 2021 at 04:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. custom rv services


    June 8, 2021 at 06:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Bedroom Riverside


    June 8, 2021 at 06:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. ClearSky Vapor

    Has anyone shopped at eCigs & Vapes Wholesale? 😉


    June 8, 2021 at 11:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. https://topphimhot.net

    Best view i have ever seen !


    June 8, 2021 at 13:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. truck paint shops near me


    June 9, 2021 at 04:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. RV Inspection Riverside

    Wonderful post! We are linking to this particularly great post on our site. Keep up the great writing.


    June 9, 2021 at 06:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Social Media Marketing Services Near Me


    June 9, 2021 at 12:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Kelly Mannine


    June 9, 2021 at 17:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Michael Martinelli

    This website really has all of the information and facts I needed about this subject and didnít know who to ask.


    June 9, 2021 at 22:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Edmond Iturbide


    June 10, 2021 at 04:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Annett Pinckley

    There is certainly a great deal to find out about this topic. I love all of the points you've made.

    June 10, 2021 at 04:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Ramona Venturino

    Good day! I could have sworn Iíve been to this site before but after browsing through some of the posts I realized itís new to me. Anyhow, Iím definitely pleased I found it and Iíll be bookmarking it and checking back often!


    June 10, 2021 at 04:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. rv repair near me


    June 10, 2021 at 05:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Fatimah Hogrefe

    A fascinating discussion is worth comment. I do think that you need to write more on this topic, it may not be a taboo matter but usually people do not speak about such issues. To the next! All the best!!


    June 10, 2021 at 13:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. rv repair service near me

    You need to take part in a contest for one of the most useful blogs on the web. I'm going to highly recommend this website!


    June 10, 2021 at 14:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Ferdinand Swida


    June 10, 2021 at 14:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Loise Harajli


    June 10, 2021 at 15:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Dorian Schleusner

    Spot on with this write-up, I really feel this website needs far more attention. Iíll probably be returning to read through more, thanks for the advice!

    June 10, 2021 at 15:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Edgar Stukes

    I'd like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this blog. I'm hoping to check out the same high-grade blog posts from you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own, personal blog now 😉


    June 10, 2021 at 20:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. rv repair shops near me

    This website definitely has all the info I wanted about this subject and didnít know who to ask.


    June 10, 2021 at 23:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Wendell Vannorsdell

    Excellent write-up. I absolutely love this site. Keep it up!


    June 11, 2021 at 01:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Efren Rosenblatt

    Good post. I'm experiencing some of these issues as well..


    June 11, 2021 at 02:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Byron Flebbe

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this post! It is the little changes that make the most important changes. Thanks for sharing!


    June 11, 2021 at 04:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Vapor Parlor

    I look after a vape store directory site and we have had a posting from a vape shop in the USA that likewise offers for sale CBD items. A Month afterwards, PayPal has contacted use to claim that our account has been limited and have asked us to take out PayPal as a payment solution from our vape store submission site. We do not offer for sale CBD product lines such as CBD oil. We simply offer online marketing professional services to CBD firms. I have taken a look at Holland & Barrett– the UK's Reputable Wellness Retail store and if you take a close peek, you will witness that they sell a surprisingly considerable series of CBD goods, particularly CBD oil and they also happen to take PayPal as a settlement solution. It seems that PayPal is employing twos sets of rules to many different companies. Due to this restriction, I can no longer take PayPal on my CBD-related web site. This has restricted my payment choices and currently, I am intensely dependent on Cryptocurrency payments and straightforward bank transfers. I have consulted with a solicitor from a Magic Circle law office in The city of london and they explained that what PayPal is undertaking is entirely unlawful and inequitable as it ought to be applying a consistent criterion to all companies. I am yet to seek advice from one more attorney from a US law office in The city of london to see what PayPal's legal position is in the USA. Meanwhile, I would be extremely appreciative if anyone here at targetdomain could provide me with different payment processors/merchants that work with CBD companies.


    June 11, 2021 at 07:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Marco Drevs

    Great information. Lucky me I ran across your blog by chance (stumbleupon). I've book-marked it for later!


    June 11, 2021 at 11:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Julia Whiddon


    June 11, 2021 at 11:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Lorrie Eisensmith


    June 11, 2021 at 13:04 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Leave a Reply to Marketing Online


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.