Although the cause of the syndrome is unknown, some doctors speculate that it comes about when the brain stem reticular formation, an important regulator of sleep and wakefulness, fails to power down at the right moment. This area, which adjoins the spinal cord, may temporarily malfunction and cause hallucinations—but nobody knows exactly why the symptoms manifest as bangs or roars. Though loud, the noise is typically not painful or dangerous, and it usually is not indicative of any other neurological disorders. Stress or exhaustion may trigger episodes, which usually stop on their own over time and with reassurance that the phenomenon, though strange, is benign.
Note: This article was originally printed with the title, "Ask the Brains".
This article was originally published with the title Ask the Brains.