Talking in sleep reasons

Sleep Talking Causes and Treatments

Written by Kelli Miller

Have you been told that you whisper sweet nothings in your sleep -- unaware that you ever spoke a word? Or, maybe your child shouts out streams of babble late at night -- only to fall right back to sleep. Have you been hoping your sleep-talking spouse will spill a long-time secret? Go ahead. Pose a question while they are sleeping, and don't be surprised if you get a single-syllable answer! But be warned: A sleep talker usually doesn't remember anything that's said during sleep.

Talking in your sleep can be a funny thing. Perhaps you chitchat unconsciously with unseen associates at the midnight hour. Or maybe a family member unknowingly carries on nightly conversations. Here are answers to your questions about talking in your sleep -- what you need to know about sleep talking, from causes to treatments.

What is sleep talking?

Sleep talking, or somniloquy, is the act of speaking during sleep. It's a type of parasomnia -- an abnormal behavior that takes place during sleep. It's a very common occurrence and is not usually considered a medical problem.

The nighttime chatter may be harmless, or it could be graphic, even R rated. Sometimes, listeners find the content offensive or vulgar. Sleep talkers normally speak for no more than 30 seconds per episode, but some people sleep talk many times during a night.

The late-night diatribes may be exceptionally eloquent, or the words may be mumbled and hard to decipher. Sleep talking may involve simple sounds or long, involved speeches. Sleep talkers usually seem to be talking to themselves. But sometimes, they appear to carry on conversations with others. They may whisper, or they might shout. If you share a bedroom with someone who talks in their sleep, you might not be getting enough shut-eye.

Who talks in their sleep?

Many people talk in their sleep. Half of all kids between the ages of 3 and 10 years old carry on conversations while asleep, and a small number of adults -- about 5% -- keep chit-chatting after they go to bed. The utterances can take place occasionally or every night. A 2004 poll showed that more than 1 in 10 young children converse in their sleep more than a few nights a week.

Girls talk in their sleep as much as boys. And experts think that sleep talking may run in families.

What are the symptoms of talking in your sleep?

It's hard to tell if you've been talking in your own sleep. Usually, people will tell you they've heard you shout out during the night or while you were napping. Or maybe someone might complain that your sleep talking is keeping them up all night.

What causes sleep talking?

You might think that sleep talking occurs during dreaming. But scientists still are not sure if such chatter is linked to nighttime reveries. The talking can occur in any stage of sleep.

Sleep talking usually occurs by itself and is most often harmless. However, in some cases, it might be a sign of a more serious sleep disorder or health condition.

REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) and sleep terrors are two types of sleep disorders that cause some people to shout during sleep. Sleep terrors, also called night terrors, usually involve frightening screams, thrashing, and kicking. It's hard to wake someone having a sleep terror. Children with sleep terrors usually sleep talk and sleepwalk.

People with RBD yell, shout, grunt, and act out their dreams, often violently.

Sleep talking can also occur with sleepwalking and nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder(NS-RED), a condition in which a person eats while asleep.

Other things that can cause sleep talking include:

  • Certain medications
  • Emotional stress
  • Fever
  • Mental health disorder
  • Substance abuse

How is talking in your sleep treated?

It is a good idea to see a sleep specialist if your sleep talking occurs suddenly as an adult or if it involves intense fear, screaming, or violent actions. You might also consider seeing a doctor if unconscious chatter is interfering with your sleep -- or that of your roommates.

If you think your child has sleep problems, make an appointment with your pediatrician.

A sleep specialist will ask you how long you've been talking in your sleep. You'll have to ask your bed partner, roommate -- even your parents -- this question. Keep in mind, you may have started sleep talking in childhood.

There are no tests needed to diagnose sleep talking. However, your doctor may order tests, such as a sleep study or sleep recording (polysomnogram), if you have signs of another sleep disorder.

Sleep talking rarely requires treatment. However, severe sleep talking may be the result of another more serious sleep disorder or medical condition, which can be treated. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options.

How can someone reduce their amount of sleep talking?

There is no known way to reduce sleep talking. Avoiding stress and getting plenty of sleep might make you less likely to talk in your sleep.

Keeping a sleep diary can help identify your sleep patterns and may help your doctor find out if an underlying problem is causing your sleep talking. Keep a sleep diary for two weeks. Note the times you go to bed, when you think you fell asleep, and when you woke up. You'll also want to write down the following:

  • the medicines you take, and the time of day you take them
  • what you drink each day and when, especially caffeinated drinks such as cola, tea, and coffee, as well as alcohol
  • when you exercise

Sleep Talking: Causes, Treatment, and More

Sleep Talking: Causes, Treatment, and More
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Medically reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, PhD, PsyD — By Chaunie Brusie — Updated on Apr 24, 2018

What is sleep talking?

Sleep talking is actually a sleep disorder known as somniloquy. Doctors don’t know a lot about sleep talking, like why it happens or what occurs in the brain when a person sleep talks. The sleep talker isn’t aware that they’re talking and won’t remember it the next day.

If you’re a sleep talker, you may talk in full sentences, speak gibberish, or talk in a voice or language different from what you’d use while awake. Sleep talking appears to be harmless.

Sleep talking is defined by both stages and severity:

  • Stages 1 and 2: In these stages, the sleep talker isn’t in as deep of sleep as stages 3 and 4, and their speech is easier to understand. A sleep talker in stages 1 or 2 can have entire conversations that make sense.
  • Stages 3 and 4: The sleep talker is in a deeper sleep, and their speech is usually harder to understand. It may sound like moaning or gibberish.

Sleep talk severity is determined by how frequently it occurs:

  • Mild: Sleep talk happens less than once a month.
  • Moderate: Sleep talk occurs once a week, but not every night. The talking doesn’t interfere much with the sleep of other people in the room.
  • Severe: Sleep talking happens every night and may interfere with the sleep of other people in the room.

Sleep talking can happen to anyone at any time, but it appears to be more common in children and men. There may also be a genetic link to sleep talking. So if you have parents or other family members who talked a lot in their sleep, you may be at risk too. Likewise, if you talk in your sleep and you have children, you may notice that your children talk in their sleep too.

Sleep talking can increase at certain times in your life and may be triggered by:

  • sickness
  • fever
  • drinking alcohol
  • stress
  • mental health conditions, such as depression
  • sleep deprivation

People with other sleep disorders are also at an increased risk for sleep talking, including people with a history of:

  • sleep apnea
  • sleep walking
  • night terrors or nightmares

Sleep talking usually isn’t a serious medical condition, but there are times when it might be appropriate to see a doctor.

If your sleep talking is so extreme that it’s interfering with your quality of sleep or if you’re overly exhausted and can’t concentrate during the day, talk to your doctor. In rare situations, sleep talking can occur with more serious problems, like a psychiatric disorder or nighttime seizures.

If you suspect that your sleep talking is a symptom of another, more serious sleep disorder, such as sleep walking or sleep apnea, it’s helpful to see a doctor for a full examination. If you start sleep talking for the first time after the age of 25, schedule an appointment with a doctor. Sleep talking later in life may be caused by an underlying medical condition.

There’s no known treatment for sleep talking, but a sleep expert or a sleep center may be able to help you manage your condition. A sleep expert can also help to make sure your body is getting the adequate rest at night that it needs.

If you have a partner who’s bothered by your sleep talking, it might also be helpful to talk to a professional about how to manage both of your sleep needs. Some things you may want to try are:

  • sleeping in different beds or rooms
  • having your partner wear ear plugs
  • using a white noise machine in your room to drown out any talking

Lifestyle changes such as the following may also help control your sleep talking:

  • avoiding drinking alcohol
  • avoiding heavy meals close to bedtime
  • setting up a regular sleep schedule with nighttime rituals to coax your brain into sleep

Learn more: Tips to sleep better »

Sleep talking is a harmless condition that is more common in children and men and may occur at certain periods in your life. It requires no treatment, and most of the time sleep talking will resolve on its own. It can be a chronic or temporary condition. It also may go away for many years and then reoccur.

Talk to your doctor if sleep talking is interfering with your or your partner’s sleep.

Last medically reviewed on April 27, 2017

How we reviewed this article:

Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

  • Callamel, M. J. (2001, November). Sleep talking [Abstract]. Revue Neurologique, 157(11 Part 2), S112-S114
  • Peeters, D., & Dresler, M. (2014, April). Scientific significance of sleep talking. Neuroscience, 2(9), 2-4
  • Sehgal, A., & Mignot, E. (2011, July 22). Genetics of sleep and sleep disorders. Cell, 146(2), 194-207
  • Sleep talking. (n.d.)
  • Suzuki, T., Kakisaka, Y., Kitazama, Y., Jin, K., Sato, S., Iwasaki, M., … Nakasato, N. (2017, February). Ictal speech manifesting as sleep talking: A case report [Abstract]. Brain and Nerve, 69(2), 167-171

Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

Current Version

Apr 24, 2018

Written By

Chaunie Brusie

Edited By


Apr 27, 2017

Medically Reviewed By

Timothy J. Legg, PhD, PsyD

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Medically reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, PhD, PsyD — By Chaunie Brusie — Updated on Apr 24, 2018

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Why do people talk in their sleep?


  1. Why do people talk in their sleep? Causes of somniloquia
  2. How to stop talking in your sleep? Prevention measures

Statistics say that only 5% of adults and 30% of children have the ability to talk in their sleep. Probably each of us is familiar with at least one such person.

In society, there is an opinion that during such a conversation you can blurt out all the secrets. There is no single answer from science. Some experts say that this is not true, others are sure that during sleep a person only talks about what really happened to him, and on the last day.

Everything would be fine, but sometimes people not only talk in their sleep, but also toss and turn a lot. This can interfere with a partner who is sleeping next to you. To solve this problem, you can buy an orthopedic mattress of a suitable type. nine0003

The only thing that is known for sure is that a person can say words or sentences during such phases of sleep: fast and slow.

Interestingly, in the first case, it is difficult to wake up a sleepwalker, and in the second case, it is very easy. Sometimes he himself can wake up from the sounds of his own voice, though he will not even guess that he said something.

By the way, scientists call conversations in a dream such a term as somniloquia . It appeared a very long time ago, because many years ago people were interested in unraveling the mystery of why people talk in their sleep. Despite the fact that modern sciences have gone far, the secrets of the human subconscious for the most part remain secrets, and therefore it is still impossible to pinpoint the reason for talking in a dream.

There is no single cause of somniloquia, as already mentioned, but there are several predisposing facts. So, researchers are sure that the tendency to talk in a dream, like sleepwalking, can be inherited. nine0003

They also claim that such a "habit" develops in those people who have increased excitability and emotional instability. They experience certain emotions (even positive ones) too much, as a result of which they cannot sleep peacefully at night, as a result of which the speech center is activated.

In addition, some diseases can lead to this condition. It has long been no secret that in a fever, patients often conduct monologues. This can be provoked by strong drugs. nine0003

Sleep talking is a common occurrence in sleepwalking and nocturnal eating disorders. It is difficult to establish the causes of the disease, but there are a number of factors that can provoke somniloquia. why a person talks out loud in a dream is not easy to establish, there are a number of factors that can provoke somniloquy. For example:

  • disease;
  • fever;
  • alcohol consumption; nine0006
  • stress;
  • mental disorders;
  • depression;
  • lack of sleep;
  • sleep apnea;
  • sleep walking;
  • nightmares.

Somniloquia is much easier to explain in children. Most of them are subject to this specific disorder, and all due to the fact that they are actively learning about the world around them. This should not be feared, but one can only be glad that the baby is trying to understand the many new knowledge he received in one day. nine0003

Alas, pills for somniloquia have not yet been invented. However, if you avoid stress and get enough sleep, you can significantly reduce the amount of sleep talking. To do this, you need to provide yourself with the most comfortable sleep conditions, for example, buy an orthopedic mattress. Our article will help you figure out how to choose an orthopedic mattress correctly.

By adjusting your lifestyle, you can better control your sleep. For example, it is recommended to limit the use of alcohol and caffeinated drinks, refuse heavy meals before bedtime, and adhere to a regular sleep schedule. nine0003

Why do people talk in their sleep?

Komsomolskaya Pravda


March 12, 2010 13:36

Since childhood I can't stand it when people tell me what I did in my sleep. Because I don't remember it and because I can't control myself.

Since childhood, I can't stand it when people tell me what I did in my sleep. Because I don't remember it and because I can't control myself. But every person has secrets. And you never know what you can blurt out during deep sleep. For example, to aspirate the name of a completely different man ... One of my friends told me that her husband says SUCH things in his sleep! At the same time, he calls her Nastya, while in real life his wife's name is Olya. This is how people lose each other. Afraid to let it slip in my sleep, I literally lost sleep and decided to focus on the prevention of sleep-talking. nine0003

The phenomenon of sleep-talking (scientifically known as “somniloquy”) has been studied for a very long time and has not yet been fully studied. It is firmly known that this phenomenon is more characteristic of men than women. The habit of talking in your sleep is often associated with sleepwalking and, like it, is often inherited. People talk either in REM sleep (during dreaming) or during incomplete awakening from delta sleep. In the first case, speech is legible and understandable, in the second, incoherent mumbling is noted. In some cases, a sleeping person can answer questions. The words of the speaker himself do not cause anxiety, which cannot be said about the listeners, because nighttime conversations also interfere with sleep, like snoring, although sometimes they are very funny. This habit has no serious medical consequences, the only important circumstance is that who is talking to whom and in whose bed. nine0003

Sleeping is a common sleep disorder and, according to some researchers, occurs in 50% of young children. In adults, sleep-talking occurs in approximately 5% of cases. Sleeping is more characteristic of excitable people who have experienced a strong impression the day before, both positive and negative. But sleeping and sleeping are two different things. A dream can be fantastic, unreal. And sleep speaking, as a rule, reflects the events actually experienced by a person. Therefore, the information given during sleep, in most cases, turns out to be true. nine0003

Psychologists are firmly convinced that in a dream a person says only what he said personally the day before. Therefore, if you are being brainwashed, they say, you saw it in the cinema and dreamed up - do not believe it: he spoke with his own language and his own lips.

If you sleep next to a person from whom you have something to hide, and at the same time you are prone to sleep-talking, you need to take precautions:

1. Before going to bed, you need to relieve tension. Take a warm bath with relaxing oils, don't watch TV in bed. It is best to go out on the balcony and breathe for ten minutes (without a cigarette, of course). If you are very excited, you are overwhelmed with emotions, take a sedative. nine0003

2. It has been observed that sex before going to bed completely eliminates sleep-talking.

3. As a rule, sleep-talking is influenced by what has just been experienced. Therefore, if you are afraid to give out a secret that you have been keeping for a long time, you can not be afraid, it will remain with you.

4. Sleep-talking intensifies in stuffiness. If the room is cool, then the likelihood that you will let it slip is halved.

5. If you have already blabbed too much at night, do not rush to admit to what you have done. Blame everything on your unbridled fantasy, most of the partners of this version believe.


Why do children talk in their sleep?

Almost all parents at least once in their lives have experienced that their child talks in their sleep. What are the reasons for this phenomenon, and when is it natural, and when is it time to sound the alarm and run to the doctor?

In most cases, sleep-talking, or somniloquia, as doctors call this phenomenon, is completely harmless and even helps the child adapt to the world around him. The fact is that the children's nervous system is less stable than that of an adult. The events that happened during the day, even if they were very joyful, can become stressful for a small person. In this case, the pronunciation of what was experienced in a dream is the result of vivid impressions, strong emotions. nine0003

Make sure that the child is not overexcited in the evening, do not allow him to watch TV, provide access to fresh air during sleep. The room should be slightly cool.

Speaking and murmuring also make it easier for children to move into another stage of sleep. Thus, children seem to lull themselves to sleep.

Very young children who are just learning to speak can use sleep talking as a launching pad for language development. At first, such children pronounce individual words in a dream, and only then repeat them in reality. nine0003

But if sleep-talking is combined with other symptoms, this is a serious reason to consult a pediatric neurologist. Symptoms such as a combination of sleep-talking with nightmares or sleepwalking, confusion after waking up should alert.


Karen Slavik-Lennard has long suffered from her beloved husband Adam talking in his sleep. Almost every night she listened to his spiritual outpourings, because you still can’t sleep when someone is talking next to you in bed. As a result, Karen began to write down the statements of her sleeping husband in a notebook. And then she started a blog in which she began to post her notes. Initially, the magazine was intended only to amuse friends and relatives. However, over time it became very popular. Then Karen decided to automate the process and now puts a voice recorder on the nightstand by the bed, which turns on every time Adam opens his mouth. The Lennards had no idea that surreal statements could attract so many visitors to the blog. Over time, they decided to capitalize on their popularity and opened an online store where they sell T-shirts, bags, aprons and underwear with Adam's phrases. After the Lennards appeared on the British TV show This Morning, the site's popularity has grown even more, and today it has almost 2 million visitors. nine0003


...19.02.2009 Enough cheese. Enough!

23.05.2009 Little people are FUNNY… yes, yes, yes… (Suddenly, waking up at the same time.) Spider!

17.09.2009 I must say that these pants are huge-oh-oh-ohm….m-m-h-h-m-m… baggy. When did you turn into a beetle? Weird.

02.10.2009 He had legs.

10/07/2009 (Quite abruptly, waking up at the same time.) Grab the python!

08.10.2009I'm going to poke you in the eye. You shouldn't say such things. My breath can kill. I like the fact that you are a moose. Yes. So soft, soft.

10/18/2009 You spin me. You spin me Stop spinning me!

31.10.2009 Who turned into jelly: the earth or me? It's funny. I can spring... Spring... Ridiculous.

11/01/2009 Big pig. Loud grunt. Tiny curled ponytail.

11/13/2009 Yes, I have mustard in my pants. Hey, I know you, but I don't like your face. Take it off... Yes, that's much better, much better. Give me back my hands! Limb thief. You have all your hands in your fingers. nine0003

11/18/2009 So many spoons. But you won't get a single one...

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