Why sleep talk

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 | Sleep Foundation

Sleep talking, formally known as somniloquy, is a sleep disorder defined as talking during sleep without being aware of it. Sleep talking can involve complicated dialogues or monologues, complete gibberish or mumbling. The good news is that for most people it is a rare and short-lived occurrence.

It’s common for people to experience at least one episode of sleep talking during their life, making it one of the most common abnormal behaviors that can occur during sleep. Research has helped clarify the symptoms and consequences of sleep talking, but there is much that remains unknown about the causes and treatment of this condition.

What Is Sleep Talking?

Sleep talking is a type of parasomnia. Parasomnias are abnormal behaviors during sleep. Unlike most parasomnias that happen only during specific parts of the sleep cycle, sleep talking can occur during either rapid eye movement (REM) or non-REM sleep.

Sleep talking is considered to be distinct from other vocalizations that can occur during sleep such as catathrenia, a breathing disorder that causes audible groaning, or REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), which involves a person physically acting out their dreams.

What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Talking?

The central symptom of sleep talking is audible expression that occurs during sleep without the person being aware of it happening. It can be gibberish or resemble normal speech.

A linguistic study of somniloquy found that around half of recorded sleep talking was incomprehensible. In these cases, sleep talking was normally mumbling, silent speech (moving the lips with limited noise), or was muffled by pillows or blankets.

The other half of sleep talking that was comprehensible had a number of parallels to typical conversations. For example, it usually followed typical standards of grammar and included pauses as if talking with another person.

Many of the recorded utterances were negative, exclamatory, or profane, indicating that sleep talking may reflect conflict-driven dialogue taking place in the brain during sleep. Sleep talking that is offensive, sexually explicit, or reveals secrets may cause embarrassment or shame; however, people are very rarely aware that they are talking in their sleep at the time and typically have no recollection of the episodes when they wake up.

Episodes of sleep talking tend to be short, and they rarely involve long or drawn-out conversations. The total episode may involve only a handful of words or a few sentences.

Research is mixed about the source of the content during episodes of sleep talking. Speech may not have any clear connection to a person’s life, recent events, or prior conversations. Some evidence indicates that it may at times be related to dreams, but not all sleep talking appears to be closely tied to dream activity.

How Common Is Sleep Talking?

Studies have found that up to 66% of people have experienced episodes of sleep talking, making it one of the most common parasomnias. That said, it does not occur frequently, with just 17% of people reporting sleep talking episodes in the last three months. Even regular sleep talkers may have to be recorded for four nights or more to document an episode.

Sleep talking is found more often in children and is believed to affect fewer adults. It occurs equally in women and men.

Because an individual is very rarely aware of episodes, data about the prevalence of sleep talking may not be exact. Reports of sleep talking usually come from a family member or bed partner.

Is Sleep Talking Dangerous?

In the majority of cases, sleep talking is harmless. It doesn’t usually have a major effect on the person’s sleep, and it normally doesn’t occur frequently enough to cause any serious problems.

However, there are some situations in which sleep talking can cause problems:

  • If sleep talking bothers a bed partner or roommate, it may interrupt their sleep and contribute to problems like insomnia or excessive daytime sleepiness.
  • If the content of sleep talking is embarrassing, it may create awkwardness or stress between the person talking in their sleep and their bed partner.
  • If sleep talking occurs alongside other parasomnias, such as nightmare disorder or sleepwalking, it may be connected to bigger sleeping difficulties that can cause fragmented or insufficient sleep.



What Causes Sleep Talking?

Experts aren’t sure exactly why people talk in their sleep. There is evidence that it may have a genetic component with some studies finding that sleep talking can run in families.

In studies of twins, sleep talking was found to co-occur more frequently with sleepwalking, teeth grinding, and nightmares in both children and adults, and these all may share some genetic relationship. Further research is needed to better understand these potential connections.

Sleep talking appears to occur more often in people with mental health conditions. In particular, it is believed to occur most frequently in people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Overall, though, most cases of sleep talking are not thought to be connected to mental illness.

How Can You Stop Sleep Talking?

Because the cause of sleep talking is not fully understood, there is limited knowledge about proven methods to stop sleep talking. In most situations, treatment for sleep talking is unnecessary because of its limited frequency and minimal negative consequences.

For people who want to try to limit or eliminate sleep talking episodes, focusing on sleep hygiene may be a helpful starting point. Most parasomnias are thought to be an abnormal state that blends wakefulness and sleep, and this state may be more likely to arise when normal sleep patterns are disturbed. For that reason, steps that promote consistent and stable sleep may help ward off parasomnias, including sleep talking.

Sleep hygiene includes a person’s sleep environment and their habits that can affect sleep. Improving sleep hygiene can eliminate potential causes of sleep interruptions and create routines that are conducive to higher-quality sleep.

While healthy sleep tips can be adapted to fit an individual’s situation, some of the key ways to enhance sleep hygiene include:

  • Keeping a consistent sleep schedule every day, including on weekends.
  • Avoiding caffeine or other stimulants late in the afternoon and evening.
  • Giving yourself time to wind down and relax, including by dimming lights and putting away electronic devices for at least a half-hour before bedtime.
  • Getting regular exposure to daylight and finding time for physical activity during the day.
  • Creating a distraction-free sleep space that has limited light or sound pollution.
  • Setting up a cozy sleep surface with the best mattresses, best pillows, and best bedding for your needs

People who are bothered by ongoing sleep talking, suffer from other sleeping problems, and/or have excessive drowsiness during the day should talk with their doctor who can help get to the bottom of those issues and recommend the most appropriate treatment.

How Can Bed Partners of Sleep Talkers Get Better Sleep?

It’s often bed partners or roommates of people who talk in their sleep who bear the brunt of the negative consequences of somniloquy. They may find themselves awoken unexpectedly in the night by sleep talking or be bothered or offended by its content.

If sleep talking is creating these problems on a regular basis, a focus on sleep hygiene may help their bed partner decrease the frequency of sleep talking episodes. In addition, other steps may help cut down on the disturbance from a bed partner’s sleep talking:

  • Wearing ear plugs or headphones to block out the sleep talking.
  • Using a white noise machine or a fan to create a soothing and stable background noise that drowns out most sleep talking.
  • If necessary, sleeping in different rooms can keep the noise of sleep talking from causing nighttime interruptions.

If there are any other sleep disturbances or excessive daytime sleepiness along with sleep talking, sleep apnea should be considered. Consultation with a sleep doctor can help you to evaluate this.

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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.

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.

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.

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;
  • 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.

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.

Why do people talk in their sleep? — ZdorovyeInfo

It can be fun, or it can get in the way. Especially if you're not sleeping alone. Sometimes it makes us anxious (what if I blurt out all the secrets?), And sometimes it even scares us. Stories are circulating on the Internet, as children in a dream suddenly point to an empty corner and say that a terrible uncle is standing there. Or aunt. In general, whoever is invisible in your bedroom at night is terrifying.

Why is this happening?

Science cannot answer this question for sure. But scientists suggest that sleep-talking (somniloquia, scientifically) is linked to stress. Not necessarily with a negative one - any bright emotion is enough. Due to the stress experienced, the centers responsible for speech are excited in the cerebral cortex. Here is in a dream the tongue is untied.

This disorder is inherited, and generally occurs quite often: in adults - in 5% of cases, in children - in 50%.

Sometimes a person, falling asleep starts muttering something in an unknown language, but soon falls silent. Scientists believe that in this way he lulls himself: strange sounds help those who fall asleep to move from one phase of sleep to another. But it also happens that people start talking during a dream. And not just talk, but also move, enter into a dialogue, point a finger at something.

Children who are learning to speak can chat at night to "train" their speech. First, they pronounce the words in a dream, and only then repeat them in reality.

Is it dangerous?

No, sleep-talking itself does not bring any harm. If a person is completely healthy and feels calm and rested in the morning, then everything is in order.

But sometimes illness or mental disorders cause somniloquia. You should be wary if sleep-talking is combined with nightmares, sleepwalking, aggression, confusion after waking up.

How to stop talking in your sleep?

To avoid your nocturnal sociability, before going to bed you need to completely relax . Create a calm environment at home:

  1. Don't watch horror movies before bed, don't read scary books or bad news.
  2. Ventilate the bedroom: Stuffiness increases the likelihood of sleep chatter.
  3. Relax. If a husband or wife complains that you're disturbing sleep, tell them that sex and massage are great for getting rid of sleep-talking.
  4. If there is no husband/wife, a hot bath or a walk will help.
  5. Do not overload your stomach before bed. Eliminate heavy, spicy and fatty foods 2-3 hours before bedtime. It is also better not to drink coffee and tea.

Is it possible to believe what a person says in his sleep?

There is a popular blog in America where a woman writes down everything her husband talks about in her sleep. For example, "Don't leave the duck there. This is completely irresponsible. Put her on a swing, let her rejoice." Or Vampire Penguins? Zombie guinea pigs? We are finished… We are finished.

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