April 20, 2020

Have you ever been sleeping and suddenly you wake up to your partner or friend babbling away? Sleep talking, or somniloquy, is a common sleep disorder that effects over 50% of children and 5% of adults at least once in their lifetime. This can occur at any stage during sleep but is most prevalent and comprehensible during the REM cycle.

Anyone can talk during sleep but it is believed to be genetic and run in the family, just like sleep walking. Sleep talking can involve mumbles, moans, shouting, or whispering. Due to being in a state of unconsciousness, generally the person cannot recall what they said or even remember doing it, unless, of course, someone is in the room with them and experiences the episode.

 

Stages & types of sleep talking

Talking during sleep typically occurs in four stages, ranging from a mild to severe severity and usually only lasts 30 or less seconds.

  • Stages 1 & 2 – in the beginning stages of sleep talking, the individual isn’t yet in a deep sleep so their speech is easier to understand. During this time, the sleeper may be able to speak in full sentences and have an entire conversation
  • Stages 3 & 4 – once you arrive to the final two stages, you’re in a deeper sleep and your words may sound like gibberish and be harder to understand

If you are someone with a mild case of somniloquy, sleep talking may occur only once a month. If you are talking in your sleep once a week, you’d be considered to have a moderate case. A severe case of sleep talking ensues every night and may interfere with one’s sleep, especially if you share your bedroom with a friend or significant other.

 

Who does it affect and why?

While sleep talking can happen with anyone, it appears most often in children and men. Only five-percent of adults suffer due to the fact that most people grow out of the disorder as a child. Scientists have yet to determine why someone talks in their sleep and the behavior is normally harmless. There are, however, certain triggers that can onset sleep talking:

  • Fever
  • Sickness
  • Alcohol
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep Deprivation

 

Sleep talking treatment

There is really no known treatment or specialized tests for sleep talking, nor is it really necessary being that it’s not dangerous. If you have a partner that is bothered by it, a sleep expert may be able to help you manage the condition. There is no concrete evidence on how to diminish the behavior, however avoiding stress and getting plenty of sleep is a good start. You can also make some lifestyle changes such as avoiding drinking alcohol, cutting back on heavy meals close to bedtime, and setting a regular sleep routine. Sleep talking also may go away completely on its own, depending on the individual.

  

We want to hear from you! Do you or someone you know experience sleep talking? Comment below and share your experience!


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