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Exploding head syndrome, stress and Sceletium Tortuosum

Do you suffer from Exploding head syndrome? No, this is not a joke. Exploding head syndrome is a rare form of hypnagogic (the period of drowsiness immediately preceding sleep) auditory hallucination in which the person experiences a loud bang or explosion in their head similar to a real-life bomb exploding. It could also be like a gun firing, a clash of cymbals, ringing, or any other form of loud noise. But, there is no noise. It all transpires inside their head.


It usually happens just at the onset of, or within an hour or two of sleep. It is not necessarily the result of a dream. There is no pain involved however, sufferers frequently feel a sense of fear and anxiety and an elevated heart rate, difficulty in breathing, Attacks may also be accompanied by perceived flashes of light. Exploding head syndrome is also known as “auditory sleep starts”. Though the cause of the Exploding Head Syndrome (EHS) is not known, though some physicians hypothesize it is facilitated by extreme fatigue. It is also linked to rapid withdrawal from certain prescription drugs such as benzodiazepines and SSRI antidepressants. In some cases it is isolated on the left side of the head, and seems to come from the inner ear region. It affects women more than men.
Typical clinical features of REM sleep behavior disorder are:


  • Skews slightly toward female gender predilection, but common in men.
  • Mean age of onset 50–65 years (range 20–80 years)
  • Vocalization, screaming, swearing that may be associated with dreams
  • Motor activity, simple or complex, that may result in injury to patient or bed-partner
  • Occurrence usually in latter half of sleep period (REM sleep)
  • May be associated with neurodegenerative disease


Acute EHS, occurs mostly as a result of a side-effect in prescribed medication—usually antidepressants. But if not then 55% of the time the cause is unknown the other 45% the cause is associated with alcohol.
If you have experienced anxiety-based EHS from benzodiazepine or SSRI withdrawal you should be aware of the natural herb antidepressant known as Sceletium Tortuosum is both a powerful natural SSRI antidepressant and it works at the opioid receptor sites much like benzodiazepines without the addiction issues. Hence, it addresses anxiety, depression as it promotes peaceful sleep. HBC Protocols now offers two different forms of Sceletium Tortuosum. Zembrin, the patented form and raw Sceletium Tortuosum powder. Caution: the raw form of sceletium possesses more of the anti-anxiety and sexual enhancing alkaloids than our patented Zembrin form of the herb. Please keep that in mind while administering it so that you don’t take too much.