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Head Bumping During Sleep 40+ yrs

I have been softly banging/nodding my head to fall asleep for the past 40+ years.  I sleep on my stomach and I lightly bang my head against my pillow.  This has always seemed to relax me and helps me to fall asleep. It's difficult to resist the urge to do this when I am trying to fall asleep. I have been during this since infancy. I have been told that I continue to do this well after I have "fallen asleep". I dont have a history of head trauma, epilesy, nerve conditions, seizures, sleep apnea or any other medical problems and when I awake I always feel well rested. Please tell me the name of this condition,what causes it and possible remedies.
17 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi, hope you are doing well. It seems this is more of  a habit as you have walked throug for so many years.Can you say about the onset and any treatment received following it. Usually seen in age group around 10 years and less. Has anyone noticed whether it continuous even after you sleep and do you get disturbed by it or any other associated symptoms. I do advise you to see a sleep specialist and a neurophysician for an complete evaluation. Mild sedative or anxiolytics, a hot shower and light music before going to sleep is much helpful. Keep updated of visits. Take care.  
Avatar universal
I doubt that this is a "habit". I have never rec'd treatment for it and I have not had any problems associated with it (headaches, neck, back pain). The bumping is pretty much continous throughout the entire sleep and I feel rested upon waking.  At the age of 45, (I have done this since infancy), it's doubtful that I will initiate testing, as it does not seem to be causing any problems. For the past several years I have taken Ambien because my work schedule has changed and it was difficult to fall asleep and I always bathe/shower before sleep. I cannot fall asleep to music or any other noise, its a distraction for me.  I was simply curious as to why I have done this all of my life and if it is a "medical condition". Thanks
Avatar universal
Hi, thanks for reply. You are right saying you need no medical attention as this is not bothering you in any sense but getting an evaluation to know the cause also might not harm you. Anyway you are best person to take either decision. Your thoughts are of high value as one of the reader of this coulmn may benefit if facing similar problem. Hope you feel much better and have sound sleep. Take care. Bye.
Avatar universal
Hi as the mother of twin boys that are now 10, all my friends thought something was wrong with my children. No I still don't know why they do it, but i have (2) aunts that passed before they were born and I grew up watching my (2) aunts (One would bump her head and foot while laying on her stomach, and both would bump while sitting up in a chair). Any way I think it may be hereditary since i have (2) family members that did it. Oh yes both twins bump whwn falling asleep, I hear them in my room in the middle of the night so I guess yes the do it all night as well.
Avatar universal
Hi Carey1230, how are you doing? Hi Nichole33, how are you and how are your twins doing? Well this seems little strange but could be a habit which might put them to sleep as well. You may observe them for any other abnormal behavior if they happen to and make a note, as it might be very helpful when you need to take them to a sleep doctor to get a sleep study done or to a neurologist who can examine them to know any cause. I do not think you need to worry because of your aunts did the same thing. Anyway do consult your doctor if it worsens further. Take care and share your thoughts.
Avatar universal
Hi Carey,

I am 46 yrs old and was a "head bumper" as a child.  I vividly recall bouncing my head rhythmically on my pillow until I fell asleep each night.  I do not recall when it stopped, nor do I know how old I was when it started.  However, I am a completely normal adult with no sleep problems.  I have four children and although none of my boys demonstrated this habit, I am anticipating that my daughter will based on how much difficultly she has falling asleep without being rocked.
Avatar universal
Hello Carey.  My brother who is 49, has bumped his head all of his life.  He has some things going on in his life right now, so I thought I would go on line to see if his head bumping might be a medical concern.  This is the first site that I found, and it looks like his head bumping is more of a "relaxing" thing, than a "medical" issue.  Which just confirms what I had always thought.

I don't know if this will help but here are some things that I remember about my brother while we were growing up.  "Physical":  1.  He learned to walk with his hands folded behind his head, elbows out to the sides for balance.  2.  He is left handed.  3.  He was very skinny until around his late 20's.  "Emotional/Heredity(?)":  1.  We were both very "shy", I outgrew mine, he can still be shy.   2.  We could both have a "temper" at times, but his was always quicker (from my Father's side).  3.  I got all of the "patience" (from my Mother's side) :).  "Head Bumping while laying down":  1.  He would lie on his stomach with his arms folded under his pillow, raise up enough to clear the pillow and bump his head face first into the pillow.  2.  He would bump his head until he fell asleep, but I don't remember him bumping his head after he fell asleep.  "Head Bumping while sitting up":  1.  He sits "Indian style"  with his left heel on his right thigh and his right heel on his left thigh, has a pillow in his lap, and bumps his head against the back of the chair.  "Rocking chairs"  1.  He always liked rocking chairs, but wouldn't bump his head while rocking.

About 40+ years ago while driving through Texas, a car passed us with two boys in the back seat who were both bumping their heads.  It was the first time we had ever seen anyone else bump their heads!  (Note:  I tried it a few times but never found the charm.)

Avatar universal
i am 29years old and i was told that from i was a baby i bumbed my head on my pillow to help me to fall asleep, this carried on all my life, i just want to know if there is a name for this.. it doesn't bother me at all, but it upsets my husband to see me doing it as he is seriously concerned and think that something is seriously wrong. i must say though i do get a lot of headaches, whether it is linked to me banging my head i don't know. is there anyone out there who can shed some light on this?
1949309 tn?1324437055
I'm 21 and I've been doing it also since I was a baby. I blame it on my mom. When she was pregnant, she would shake her legs (I'm not sure from anxiety or what), but I assume that I got used to the rhythm in the womb, and now I can't stop. As a baby, I think I did it to go to sleep, and now I do it to music, and ONLY music. I can't really go a day without it. A couple years ago, I started to wonder if there was a name for it, but I googled and never found anything. I'm SOOOOOO glad that I'm not the only person in the world who does it. I always assumed that when (eventually) I started sharing my bed with someone, I'd stop, but I'm amazed to know that there are people who have done it for 40+ years. It's nice to know I'm not alone. :)
Avatar universal
Im a 40 year old male and have also done this my whole life. I have tried to resist the urge but find getting to sleep without banging my head to take to long, as long as 45 minutes. To say that this helps relax me is an understatement. It puts me to sleep. usually taking about 10-15 minutes. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and 70-100 bangs puts me right back out. The is no logic to this, but I know what works for me. I thought i would grow out of it eventually, never having even heard of anyone else doing it. But alas it still works. There are tons of info online of infants doing this, but I'm sure a study could be done on adults would yeild a bigger cross section than most would think. I have seen it refered to as a sleep disorder a few times. I think this is an overreaction. Its not normal, but its also not something that needs to be fixed IMO.
Avatar universal
Im 42 and my brother is 39 and we have been bumping our heads on pillows all our lives
Avatar universal
Im 40,

I would curl arms under pillow and raid head up and start bumping head on pillow. I remember doing soft and at times very hard. I remember I always hummed and it came out sounding like HUNYA so thats what my family called it "There goes Paul hunyaing" other adults assumed i was masturbating when they slept over lol, TMI i am sure but many assumed that was what they heard with banging of bead. I did this as a baby till I was maybe into my early twenties. I still rock when sitting and the only time I did not bang my head backwards on a soft chair was when I was in a rocking chair. When I was 39 I was diagnosed with Adult ADHD and was told I most likely had it all my life. I believe they are tied into to each other. I may not bang my head at night anymore but I still do rock hips, legs or shoulders and I have always rocked to music, I would say its torture to try not to rock rhythmically to any kind of music, even music i do not enjoy. I am sure this too is tied together. I do think it is a form of emotional comfort or even our bodies purging the last bit of energy be it negative or positive before it goes to sleep. When I forced/taught my self how to sleep without pumping my head at night that was when my restless nights began. Maybe this bit of information can help shed more light on this behavior.
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