Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > Brain and Head Injuries Forum

Brain zaps when falling asleep (Page 1)

I am 28 years old and i have just began getting these zaps. When i am laying in bed i get an electrical-like shock in my brain that i feel for a split second. It occurs almost every night just before falling asleep. I don't know if it could be caused by the malaria medication that i am taking. But not only do i feel these zaps, but i also get like a "tv snow" vision. Like when a television screen goes out it gets whats called a snow screen, well that is what i see. I don't know if that's just from the constant use of a laptop or the playing of video games, but i sure would like to figure these symptoms out.
I work on oil rigs platforms out in the pacific so its real hard for me to set up doctor appointments because i never know when i'm going to be home or for how long. So any information i could possibly receive would be greatly appreciated.
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First Helper coopie
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replied September 9th, 2009
Monkey5150, I feel for you. I'm 43 and I have been getting these "brain zaps" for quite a few years now. As a matter of fact, I have gotten them all over my body, but the ones in my ear are the worst. I was diagnosed as hypothyroid years ago and put on medication. Never did feel better and I was getting these "zaps" even long after all of my bloodwork showed normal results. I remember once I was sitting on my couch watching TV when all of a sudden I got this "zap" in my gut area which I even HEARD!. It sounded just like the crackling sound that arc welding makes, so maybe you can relate.

My GP had been treating my Hypo and I had been telling her that something wasn't right. Just ignored me and kept telling me to take my medication. I finally made an appointment with an Endocrinologist, explained my symptoms to him, and he knew right away. He told me that I was having a reaction to the dye in the pills I had been taking and he had seen it before with others. He switched me over to the "pure white" pills with no dye and had me cut them up to make the required dose I needed. Well, after a short time, the zapping shocks subsided.

Then my ear starting hurting in occasion. Pretty bad pain. Sometimes now, when I'm going to sleep, just on the verge of sleep, I get these "shocks" in my ear. My right ear only (at least so far). I do not get them when I am awake. I only get them after I close my eyes and start going to sleep. It seems, at least to me, that certain foods I eat trigger the episodes. I stay away from foods with dyes in them, especially the red dyes. It's hard to do. I mess up once in a while. I don't know how I developed this "condition", just sort of came on. And it's worse in the Spring and Fall which suggests to me it has some kind of an allergy basis as well. And what is also remarkable is that my right ear is where I had a severe infection some years back. I never had ear problems as a kid. I picked up an infection after going swimming in a friend's pool. So, I imagine, there is some damage in the form of scar tissue in the ear canal. I don't know the connection with that.

Anther thing that you mention is the computer and video games. All of these things did occur after I learned computer and got one and started spending a lot of time in front of one. Related? Who knows?

These are things that have made a difference for me when I stick with them. Don't eat meals late in the evening and then lay down and go to sleep. Eat early and allow plenty of time for digestion.

Read the labels on the foods. Stay away from ones with multiple artificial ingredients. MSG really sets it off for me so I completely avoid any foods with that in it. Look up MSG on the Net and find out the other names for it so you can recognize it on labels. There are derivatives for it and they are just as bad.

I think there is some kind of inflammation going on inside of us. Do a search for "natural anti-inflammatory foods" on the Net and incorporate those in your diet.

Fluorquines (not sure about spelling) may have played a role. They call it being "floxed". Think back a few years about the medications you have taken. Cipro is one. Avelox is another. There are many others. I was on Avelox before all this crap started. There are a few good sites about this where you can read up on this and compare the symptoms you are having. Maybe you're having other symptoms that you don't realize or just haven't connected.

I had all kind of testing done and none showed anything to indicate my symptoms. Post back if you find out anything. Good luck.

Tony
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replied July 29th, 2011
Well, I'm thrilled to hear other people gave brain zaps! I've had them for awhile, but recently it's every day. I ONLY get the zaps when I lie down. I have major problems with my neck so I just assumed it might be some sort of pinched nerve. I also have left ear problems & constant ringing in my ears. I did have an MRI a few years ago & all was clear.I have experienced vertigo a few times & with that have a weird kind of zap. I only take thyroid medication daily & ibuprofen. I eat healthy & exercise. I have never been on any antidepressants, so it's not from that! And for those if you who are skeptical & think it's crazy, or we're crazy brain zaps are for real. Maybe these posts will enlighten others. Good luck zappers!
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replied November 4th, 2012
Hi BFM
I don't know if you are still around this site because we are more than one year later... But I have exactly the same things as you: zaps when I lie down, some vertigo bouts with some weird zap and tinnitus very loud in my ears.
I am assuming it's coming from anxiety but really not sure!
Are you still having them?
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replied September 23rd, 2009
dr.dhanush
whatever ur problem i can solve if you have ...
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replied September 23rd, 2009
How, EXACTLY, Dr., would you solve my problem? What type of Dr. are you and where did you receive your medical degree? Where are you located?
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replied April 21st, 2010
I have been having these for an incredibly long time, and they started after i got brain damage from carbon monoxide poisoning... its terrible and they dont happen once or twice, they happen CONSTANTLY until i fall asleep... its terrible.. and if u can figure it out i would love to know why i get them... sometimes it actually hurts and it makes a buzzing sound in my head and i see snow as well...
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replied October 24th, 2012
brain zaps
I have been having zaps which started after a motorcycle accident, they can even make me stumble as I only get them on the move, the thing is no one believes me Inc my doc. I'm glad I found other have this and I'm not mad, I have also been on anti deps since the accident so these may be part of the problem.
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replied August 11th, 2010
it's not just a reaction to dye because I've been getting them my whole life, and haven't been on any medications until recently. I think it's related to being tired / sleepy. Also to your eyes--when I look to the side quickly I often get one. Pretty sure it's not an allergy but maybe from a brain injury--I had an injury when I was a little baby so maybe that caused it??
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replied August 13th, 2010
Its possible im sure. I hear that it links you to an interesting between sleep and awake state that some people use to create out of body experiences, astral projecting etc. Its a very interesting.. and annoying... phenomena
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replied September 6th, 2010
I have the exact same thing, bright TV static-like vision, feels/looks/sounds just like I got electrocuted and it's just before falling asleep, right through my brain/head. It only happens to me 4-5 times a year though.
3 nights ago it happened to me and I finally decided to try and find info on it.

I'm glad I found this.


Does anyone reading this also enter REM sleep (and a dream) immediately after this too? That seems to me to be a significant connection... The dream I enter- even if I was looking at the clock seconds prior- is usually unpleasant/eerie because the brain zap scared me.
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replied October 2nd, 2010
brain zaps while falling asleep
i to get these very annoying brain zaps right before falling to sleep and i also see the visions of the snowy tv screen. im no Dr. but i kind of think it has something to do with the neuro tranmitters being sent to the brain during the first stage of sleep. if there is a neurologist reading these comments and you can shine some light on what causes this, it will be greatly appreciated...thanks
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replied November 16th, 2010
You guys aren't talking about brain zaps, but a Exploding Head Syndrome. Causes are not well known, but one hypothesis is that part of your brain is going to sleep before another part, and gets jolted awake.

It's similar to hypnic jerks--you know, when you get this very startled reaction when you are about asleep, like you just kept yourself from falling.
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replied February 20th, 2012
Head explosions - hypno-jerks
I've been experiencing regular head explosions coupled with 'brain-squeezing' sensations for about nine years now. After an MRI and a full brain scan showed no physiological abnormality (thank goodness!) the neurologist reckoned there's no explanation other than that it's probably a kind of hypno-jerk that might be associated with periods of over-tiredness/stress etc... Whilst I'm not a particularly 'stressed-out' person, I guess that as annoying (and often scary) as these symptoms are, knowing that I'm not alone in suffering these weird sensations is somewhat reassuring! Good luck to all... perhaps we're aliens!!
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replied January 30th, 2011
EAR zAPS ELECTRICAL NOISE
ok I get these "ear zaps" before i go to sleep , sometimes several times right when i am aboout to fall asleep zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap! and i am wide awake. Interestingly enough I discoved if i put cotton swaps in my ear it does not happen but more interesting is i can feel the spasms in my ear canals , like the canal muscles are flexing , sqeezing and relaxing, not doubt to me its related somehow. the cotton swab trick helps trmedously , try it!! BTW These are not brain shivers , Ive had those before coming off of medications and those suck big time. these suck but aqre much diffrent than a brain shiver
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replied February 9th, 2011
I usually have the brain shivers or zaps also. To me it feels like my brain cracked open (without pain) and water comes rushing into my cranium. Sometimes it accompanied by a loud clap that will wake me up. Other times it like a zap or a sizzle sometimes followed by waves of heat. It is not the exploding head that the commentator describes because I have also had those. When I had them more frequently I was on paxil and was told many had this side affect- either from withdraw or while on it. I have been off psychotropics for 5 years now and they still happen.
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replied February 9th, 2011
Does anyone else here have a history of grinding there teeth. It led me to wonder if it may have something to with the relaxing of muscles in my head. I mean the brain does not really have feeling so any sensation should be some kind of referred pain right?
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replied February 23rd, 2011
I have brain zaps all the time. One time I had a brain zap so big, it looked like i was floating towards the sun. kind of like my brain was being electrocuted. I thought I was going to Hell. I think these brain zaps may also be coming from a spiritual foundation.
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replied June 19th, 2012
I agree I get them all the time I find prayer does help.
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replied February 27th, 2011
Brain zaps
Hi - I have had these sort of brain zaps for around 4 years. I have never been on medication (apart from occasional antibiotics over the years) so cannot be related to that (at least for me). I do have arthritis in neck, have had couple of ear infections and have been grinding my teeth lately (which I link to the slight tension in my neck).
I have just been to see a neurologist, for second time, and they have never heard of it (obviously don't use Google).
I am also wondering whether it is an inflammatory response in the body so am going to try natural anti-inflammatory diet, including Omega 3, garlic, onions, etc plus vit E, D, C and B complex. In order words, try and get healthy body to see if stops these rotten electrical buzzing sensations in my head.
Last thing, I don't get them (or at least am not aware of them) in the daytime, they only start once I lay down to sleep - that's one of the reasons I wonder if it is linked to my neck.
Hopefully they are not harming any of us - even better, they may be sparking up and improving our brains. Oh well, can hope.
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replied February 28th, 2011
I have been having these "brain zaps" for 5 years. All kinds of tests done. Went to Mayo. They said Exploding Head syndrome. Not! I do not have those symptoms. I do not hear a loud noise. I get a sharp pain whenever I begin to fall asleep. It hurts. It continues to happen over and over until I somehow fall asleep. Some nights I barely sleep at all. I also have some numbness and tingling down my forearms and shins to feet. I take Lyrica for it, but it doesn't help much. I've taken sleeping pills too. They were awful. I did not react well to them, plus didn't want to take them every night for who knows how long. I've taken other stuff too. Don't remember all of it. Plus some physical therapy. I am going to try some nutritional therapy to see if that makes a difference. But exploding head syndrome it is not, at least not according to the description I was given by Mayo. If anyone has any other help out there, please let me know. Thanks.
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replied March 6th, 2011
Whoever above said it is not the dyes is wrong. I've eliminated the dyes from my diet, along with MSG, and I've eliminated the head and ear zaps. Those artificial dyes(red, yellow,blue) are in just about everything you buy in a grocery store. They're even in pickles! You need to read the labels. MSG is in just about everything, too. It's hard to eliminate the crap, and you will have to give up a lot of food you may like, but it's worth it. Every so often I will buy something and forget to read the label and then get a ear zap that night. When I look at the label of the "new" food I ate the day before, it ALWAYS has a dye or MSG in it. Before I started reading labels and eliminating dyes and MSG, I was getting these "ear zaps" just about every night. As soon as I modified my diet and eliminated all foods with the dyes and MSG, my ear zaps stopped. The dyes and MSG are probably not the cause of the shocks, but they are the triggers. At least a couple of the triggers. I have no idea what "damaged" our systems to where we can't tolerate these substances anymore. There may be other triggers. I just went the past 6 months without a shock up until last night. I ate one cookie last night of a brand I never bought before and sure enough when I looked at the ingredient list today, it had "hydrolyzed" something or another, which is just another form of MSG, if you do your homework. Hydrolyzed anything is MSG. It has the same attributes as MSG. Do your homework. You are what you eat. Get back to decent, whole, nourishing foods without all the additives. Also, you need to be suspect of the pesticides (that get into the food you eat) used to grow the vegetables, grains, and fruits you eat and, also, the hormones given to the cows, chickens, and pigs where the meat you eat comes from. Any of this crap consumed over a long sustained period of time could have screwed up our systems. Be suspicious.
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replied May 4th, 2011
I am getting these brain zaps during withdrawal from the drug Cymbalta. Anyone else???
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replied November 13th, 2011
Yes, WJD. I have been on Cymbalta for exactly one year and about a month ago I noticed the effects of the drug diminishing and brain zaps with a constant high pitch ringing in my ears. I stepped down from 60 mg to 30 mg for 7 days an tooku final pill 3 days ago. This side effect is horrible. I also went off bio-identical hormone replacement therapy because I refuse to get caught up in all these drug interactions as I age. I take diclofenac for osteo arthritis and have just been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. I eat a very healthy diet and am conscious of everything put in my body so am done with these psych drugs. I have had better luck with high quality vitamins, fish oil , and meditation.

I just hope these zaps cease soon because it impairs my ability to meditate.
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replied November 13th, 2011
Brain zaps from Cymbalta
Yes, WJD. I have been on Cymbalta for exactly one year and about a month ago I noticed the effects of the drug diminishing and brain zaps with a constant high pitch ringing in my ears. I stepped down from 60 mg to 30 mg for 7 days an tooku final pill 3 days ago. This side effect is horrible. I also went off bio-identical hormone replacement therapy because I refuse to get caught up in all these drug interactions as I age. I take diclofenac for osteo arthritis and have just been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. I eat a very healthy diet and am conscious of everything put in my body so am done with these psych drugs. I have had better luck with high quality vitamins, fish oil , and meditation.

I just hope these zaps cease soon because it impairs my ability to meditate.
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