Sleep talking is something which is fairly common in general population. You must know at least one person who talks while sleeping. It is generally harmless; however, you might feel disturbed yourself or even worse that you can disturb your partner while talking in your sleep. That is why it is good to know a few facts about sleep talking and how can you reduce the frequency of sleep talking.
What is sleep talking?
You might blurt out a few words in your sleep if you have been exhausted during the day. It can also occur if you have been sleep deprived for a few days. However, if you have been regularly told about the chitchat you do during your sleep, then you might be a sleep talker. It is scientifically termed as Somniloquy. Some people have reported sleep talkers speaking some X-rated things which can also be vulgar or offensive.
Sleep talking is essentially unconscious, and that is the reason it can represent itself in different ways. You will be surprised to see how many forms it could take. It ranges from listening to a few nonsensical words to full sentences. It can be spontaneous but can also be induced by another person who is trying to talk to the one who is asleep.
- They mumble words or might speak eloquently.
- They might speak only 2-3 words or full sentences.
- Most of the time they talk to themselves.
- They can whisper words or shout.
- They could also be talking to other people and might be a part of the conversation.
- They could answer every question you asked.
- Some sleep talkers talk only once or for a few seconds and others might talk more than once.
It might be a surprise for some people that a person’s voice can change during sleep talking. That voice can be a little a different from the voice you normally hear from that person.
When is sleep talking most likely to occur?
Sleep talking can occur anytime during the night. However, sleep talking during the early stages of sleep, when the sleep is not deeper, can be more gibberish. A bed partner can understand most of the narrative said by the sleep talker in the later part of the night. The reason for this phenomenon is that REM sleep is in deeper in the earlier part of the night and your brain is on Stage 3 or 4 of REM sleep. While at later part of night REM sleep is in stage 1 or 2 and that’s why sleep talking sentences make more sense.
There can’t be self-reported symptoms because it is an unconscious phenomenon. Most of the time the person is not aware of his sleep talking if he/she sleeps alone. It is mostly told by another person who shares your space while sleeping.
Who is vulnerable?
There are no proven ages for the sleep talker and many people sleep talk every now and then. Children aging from 3 to 10 years old are more likely to talk while sleeping. However, with the passage of time, the habit of sleep talking in children can be changed. A very small number of adults sleep talk occasionally. It has also been proposed by some researchers that sleep talking might run in families. Another survey pointed out that 1 in 10 children sleep talks.
Sleep talking is generally harmless and does not pose any threat, but if it occurs more frequently, then it is linked to other serious health problems. There are a few suggested causes for sleep talking. Some of these are given below.
- It is thought to be associated with dreaming, but a causal relationship has not been established by the scientists.
- REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) can be linked with sleep talking. In this disorder, the person might shout, act out on the dream in a violent manner, groans or yells.
- Sleep talking can also be due to sleep terrors which are also known as night terrors in which person can be screaming, thrashing or kicking. Sleepwalking also occurs in night terrors.
- It can be a side effect of some medications.
- Stress and mental health issues can also be the reason.
- Sleep deprivation.
Sleep talking might also exist with other disorders like Nocturnal Sleep-Related Eating Disorder (NS-RED)
What can you do about it?
- Try changing your mattress or pillow.
- Take plenty of quality sleep.
- Avoid and treat your stress.
- Keep track of your sleep patterns.
Generally, you don’t have to worry about talking in your sleep. However, you should see a doctor to find out more about any serious underlying problem because it can be an indication of sleep disorder.