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April 30, 2012 at 11:05 AMComments: 3 Faves: 0

Why Do People Talk In Their Sleep?

By Brad Plaggemars More Blogs by This Author

Hello and welcome back to Mental Marvels-where the focus is brain behaviors and mental phenomenons.

Today I thought that I would discuss something that occurs quite regularly: sleep talking. You may have been told that you jabber while you sleep or you may have witnessed others doing it. Most people who talk in their sleep do not remember a thing. They cannot recall saying anything. Much of that said while someone is asleep is complete gibberish. I have had my own experiences with sleep talking, both seeing others doing it and I, myself, talking in my sleep. Sleep talking can be very amusing, but what exactly is it?

Defining Sleep Talking

Sleep talking or, in scientific terms, somniloquy, is the action of talking in one's sleep. Sleep talking is quite common and is not considered to be a medical concern. Sleep talking can be completely spontaneous or they can be brought on by outside conversation. It can happen at any point in a person's sleep cycle. According to sleepdex.org:

The lighter the sleep, the more intelligible the speech. In stages 1 and 2, people may have entire conversations while asleep. In deep sleep, somniloquy may be restricted to moans and gibberish.

Having seen sleep talking before and, apparently, done it myself, I never thought that talking in one's sleep would ever go beyond gibberish mumbling.

Symptoms

Sleepdex.org mentions a number of symptoms associated with sleep talking, such as:

  • Speech or utterances during sleep
  • No awareness of talking
  • Potential association with psychiatric disorders like anxiety
  • Possible association with medical disorders like the flu

Causes

What causes a person to start talking in his/her sleep? There are many ideas of why a person may talk while sleeping:

  • Emotional stress
  • Taking certain medications
  • Mental disorders
  • Fever
  • Substance abuse
  • Sleep deficiency

Treatment

Although somniloquy is not something to be concerned about, there is always the question of how to stop. If talking in your sleep is bothersome or has turned into more of a "night terror" situation, it is recommended that you visit a sleep specialist. Other things to consider would be your caffeine intake, the medications you take, and how often you exercise.

There may not be a concrete way to treat somniloquy, but there are ways to prevent it. Here are a few tips:

  • Reduce how much stress you experience
  • Steer clear of having a heavy meal before sleeping
  • Keep to a strict sleep routine
  • Get a proper amount of sleep

For further information, visit any of the sources listed at the bottom of the page.

Sources:

http://www.sleepdex.org/somniloquy.htm

http://www.better-sleep-better-life.com/sleep-talking.html

http://sleepapneamachine.net/sleep-talking-symptoms-causes-and-treatment-for-this-sleep-disorder

Photo Credit:

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MaryLane

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3 Comments

  • I am an avid somniloquist. On a car trip a few years ago, I apparently talked with my friend's dad (the driver) all night long... while sleeping. He had no idea I wasn't wide awake having a conversation with him for several hours. I don't remember a word I said, but from what he could remember, we covered bon fires, steel string vs nylon strings (guitar), car problems, and how to make you own bow and arrows.

  • Haha, that's quite a variety and a long time to sleep talk!

  • Yeah, I feel kind of weird, and a bit worried, about how much I talk in my sleep. My wife can have full conversations with me while I'm 'sleeping' sometimes. Of course, sometimes I say weird stuff, but it almost always wakes me up when I do. Kind of like I can hear myself and know that doesn't make sense? If I wake up, I usually remember the last few sentences of the conversation.

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