What Is Sleep Talking?
Sleep talking, also called somniloquy, is a sleep disorder in which you’re talking in your sleep without being aware of it. It’s type of parasomnia, a category of sleep disorders that involve abnormal or unusual movements and behavior while sleeping. You can start talking in your sleep during REM sleep or non-REM sleep.
Who Talks In His Sleep?
Talking in your sleep isn’t usually considered a sleep disorder because many people experienced it before. Most of the times it doesn’t occur often, and people sleep through them. Studies have found that sleep talking in children is more prevalent than on adults. More than half of the children between 3 and ten years old talk in their sleep occasionally. Sleep talking in children become less frequent as they age. Only 5% keeps sleep talking in adulthood. Chronic sleep is talking in adults, however, is considered to be a sleep disorder. Also, sleep talking in males are more common than in females. Talking in your sleep can also run in the family.
What Causes You To Talk On Your Sleep?
Many people think that talking in your sleep is associated with dreaming. However, you can also start talking in your sleep when you’re not in the REM sleep stage. Talking in your sleep can be caused by stress, fever, sleep deprivation, daytime drowsiness or the use of alcohol/drugs. As mentioned before, talking in your sleep can also run in the family.
Sleep disorders may also be the reason you’ve been talking in your sleep. It can be a symptom of sleep apnea, REM sleep behavior disorder, night terrors or sexsomnia. It can also be associated with mental illnesses such as a psychiatric disorder or nocturnal seizures. This is, however, less common. Sleep talking caused by mental or medical illness usually occurs in people over the age of 25.
Symptoms Of Sleep Talking
The most prominent symptom is of course sleep talking itself. However. It’s hard to know if you’ve been talking in your sleep. Usually, your sleep partner informs you the next morning that they heard you talking in your sleep or while napping. Perhaps, they complain about your screaming at night that waked them up. Maybe, your sleep talking has kept them up all night.
You can have full conversations or just some mumbling depending on the stage of sleep you’re in. You can start to sleep talking at any stage of sleep. People tend to speak more clearly and are more capable for a full conversation when they are in the stages of light sleep, stages 1 and 2, or during REM sleep. During deep sleep, stages 3 and 4, people tend to mumble or moan at that point. Speech becomes more gibberish, and it doesn’t sound like actual talking in your sleep.
The symptoms can vary in severity and duration. Severity is categorized as mild, moderate or severe. Mild means that you haven’t been talking in your sleep every week, even less perhaps. Moderate is when you’ve been talking in your sleep more than once per week, but not every night. Your bed partner might be slightly irritated, but it’s not entirely disturbing them. Severe is when you are talking in your sleep every night, and it’s interrupting your partner’s sleep.
The duration also varies per person. The symptoms of sleep talking can last one month or less, which is considered acute. Sub-acute means that it last more than one month but not a year. Chronic is when the symptoms of sleep talking last longer than a year.
How Can You Treat Sleep Talking?
There is no treatment needed if you catch yourself talking in your sleep once in a while. However, if it occurs more frequently, you can consider talking to a sleep specialist to find out the underlying medical or psychiatric disorder that causes you to talk in your sleep. You might have a sleep disorder that causes you to sleep talk. Sleep talking usually goes away if the sleep disorder is treated. If the indicator is stress or anxiety, relaxation techniques can be applied to the situation.
Practicing good sleep hygiene, having good sleep habits and following a sleep schedule can reduce the amount of sleep talking episodes:
- Schedule your bed and wake times. Wake up at the same time every day and go to sleep at a certain time every night, even in the weekends. This way you can make sure you get enough sleep, and your body eventually adjusts to your schedule.
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation can be the reason you’ve been talking in your sleep. The average adult needs about 8 hours of sleep. Makes you meet this requirement to reduce or avoid sleep talking.
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine. To help fall asleep and your body to wine down. Choose a relaxing activity to do before going to bed. For example, read a book or take a hot shower before sleep.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and heavy meals before sleep. Caffeine, alcohol can disrupt your sleep and heavy meals can keep you awake and prevent you from sleeping.
- Exercise regularly. Do your intensive exercises in the mornings or late afternoons. Choose a more relaxing exercise, like yoga, before going to bed.
- Avoid napping during the day. Napping can disturb your sleep schedule.
- Associate bed with sleep. Use your bed for sleep only. Don’t play on your phone in bed. Avoid reading or watching a movie in bed.
- Make your sleep environment pleasant. Your bedroom should be comfortable, not too hot or too cold, quite and without any distraction. It should be like an invitation for sleep.
Bed partners can use silicon earplugs if the sleep talking is disturbing their sleep. White noises tend to mask the sleep talking as well. Otherwise, if all fails, bed partner can try to sleep separate rooms, until the sleep talking has reduced.