DiscoverThe Matt Walker Podcast#66 - Exploding Head Syndrome
#66 - Exploding Head Syndrome

#66 - Exploding Head Syndrome

Update: 2024-01-291
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Matt’s back this week to delve into the intriguing phenomenon known as Exploding Head Syndrome (EHS). A genuine and significant sleep disorder, EHS is part of the broader category of parasomnias, which includes various sleep-related disorders like night terrors and sleepwalking. The core experience of EHS involves patients perceiving sudden, loud, and shocking noises, akin to explosions or gunshots, as they are either falling asleep or waking up from sleep. These hallucinations are distressing, evoking fear and anxiety, even though they do not cause physical pain. Despite its dramatic name and symptoms, EHS is often misunderstood and wrongly perceived as dangerous or life-threatening, but it poses no physical harm to hearing or brain health.

The diagnosis of EHS relies on patient-reported experiences, as there is no definitive test for it. Medical professionals rule out other potential causes through objective evaluations like EEG recordings or MRI scans, ultimately reaching a diagnosis through exclusion. The emotional impact of EHS can be long-lasting, leading to a strong aversion to sleep, known as somnophobia. Matt shares some of the theories behind the underlying mechanisms, such as neurological abnormalities in the brainstem and the role of stress and anxiety. He notes that treatment options include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to manage stress and anxiety, and various medications, although none have been formally approved for EHS. Join our host for this fascinating exploration into this very real syndrome that is guaranteed to blow your mind.


Please note that Matt is not a medical doctor, and none of the content in this podcast should be considered medical advice in any way, shape, or form, nor prescriptive in any way.



The good people at InsideTracker are one of the sponsors of this week's episode, and they are generously offering a special 25% off any one of their programs for anyone who uses the above link during the time window of this episode. InsideTracker is a personalized biometric platform that analyzes your blood and your DNA to better understand what's happening inside of you and offers suggestions regarding things that you can do to better try and adjust some of those numbers, optimize them, and, as a result, optimize you.


Also sponsoring this week are those fine people at Athletic Greens, and they are generously offering 3 benefits for anyone who uses the above link for their first order: 1) a discount on your order; 2) a one-year free supply of vitamin D; 3) five free travel packs. Athletic Greens is a nutrition drink that combines a full complement of antioxidants, minerals, and biotics, together with essential vitamins. Matt’s been using it for several years now because he’s serious about his health, and because he did his research on the science and ingredients in Athletic Greens and thinks its scientific data can be taken as ground truth.


As always, if you have thoughts or feedback you’d like to share, please reach out to Matt on Instagram.



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#66 - Exploding Head Syndrome

#66 - Exploding Head Syndrome

Dr. Matt Walker