If you are one of the many people who has found out they talk in their sleep, it can be surprising, funny, or embarrassing depending on the situation.
Sleep talking itself is harmless, but it may indicate a more serious sleep disorder or disturb the people around you.
The following information can help you better understand why people talk in their sleep and how to handle it.
What is Sleep Talking?
Also known as Somniloquy, sleep talking is a sleep disorder defined by unconsciously speaking during sleep.
The speech varies widely, from gibberish, mumbling, and groaning to harmless chatter or coherent, complicated statements. The person may whisper or shout, and often sounds different than they do when awake.
It occurs among people of all ages and is not harmful, but can be embarrassing, disturb others, or indicate another sleep disorder. While people of any age can talk in their sleep, it is thought to be more common among men and children.
Causes of Sleep Talking
Sleep talking is often triggered by the following –
It is believed to be somewhat inherited because many times sleep talking runs in families. Sleep talking commonly occurs along with other sleep disorders including sleep apnea, nightmares, and REM sleep behavior disorder.
Symptoms of Sleep Talking
Talking in your sleep is possible at any time of night and during any sleep stage. In the lighter stages of sleep when the brain is more active, talking is usually more coherent and people can have entire conversations and respond to questions.
Talking during the deeper sleep stages tends to be gibberish or moaning. People sometimes want to interpret the things said while asleep but doing so is usually impossible since the content is often random or only vaguely related to experiences.
The severity of symptoms ranges from mild to severe:
- Mild: Talking occurs less than once a week
- Moderate: Talking occurs more than once a week but less than every night
- Severe: Talking occurs nightly and disturbs the sleep of a bed partner
Most of the time sleep talking doesn’t require any treatment. However, if your sleep talking begins suddenly as an adult, is severe, interferes with your or your partner’s sleep, or lasts for a long time, then talk to your doctor or a sleep specialist about the problem.
They can help you determine if your sleep talking is due to another sleep disorder and suggest treatment options.
Sleep talking treatment usually focuses on taking measures to reduce the likelihood of talking in your sleep.
Maintaining a regular sleep schedule, getting enough sleep, practicing proper sleep hygiene, and refraining from alcohol, excessive stress, and heavy meals are all ways to help reduce the frequency of sleep talking.
Talking in your sleep is a generally harmless, and often amusing, episode that many people experience occasionally.
If you suffer from severe symptoms that disturbs you or your partner during the night, then taking steps to reduce the frequency and talking to your doctor can help you control the disorder for a more peaceful night’s sleep.