Sleep Talking – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Sleep talking is something that we hear about all the time. Often, from childhood. Almost everyone was told, at least once in a lifetime, that they were talking in their sleep. Either a word or a full sentences that could last for minutes and even hours. However, to some its just one time, or twice, while for others it’s a sleeping routine.

Sleep talking is known as somniloquy – a sleep disorder that is defined as talking during sleep unconsciously.

Somniloquy or widely used term of ‘sleep talking’ can involve complicated monologues or dialogues, or can be just a short mumbling or complete gibberish.

The best news about this sleep disorder is the fact that for most of the people it’s rare and short-lived. We usually all experience it, but we don’t live with it. Sleep talking is more common in males and children.

This disorder comes with a feeling of shame as well, as the sleepers can’t recall if they spoke a word, and what they were saying. They just don’t remember anything that’s said during sleep.

Sleep Talking

The most frighting thing about this sleep disorder is the fact that sleepers don’t remember the next day their words, speech or behaviors.

What it more interesting, is the fact that their vocal side alters to something that is not typical for them when awake, For example, their voices and the type of language that they use in their sleep sounds different.

Trigger for sleep talking can be spontaneous or induced by a conversation with the sleeper itself.

Little is known about the content of sleep talking: some sleep talking is without logic and makes no sense, while some of it may be related to specific events, past experiences, or even relationships that not relevant anymore in any way.

Modern sleep science together with the law accepts that sleep talking is not a product of a rational or conscious mind. Therefore, sleep talking is inadmissible in court entirely.

Sleep talking is not physically harmful, like sleep walking might be, but it comes with its own burden – embarrassment.

Embarrassment is even bigger if the talker shares the bad with a partner, roommate, or is a part of group-sleeping situations. Due to this possible embarrassing situation sleep talkers are very often scared when it comes to not-sleeping alone-moments. They have a deep fear of sleeping away from home and it can lead to possible insomnia or even hypersomnia in a person sleeping nearby.

What Causes You To Talk In Your Sleep?

There are many reasons that may lead to this sleep disorder. It can be brought on by stress, depression, even sleep deprivation, use of alcohol, fever, and even day-time drowsiness.

Sleep talking is usually tightly linked with other sleep disorders, including nightmares, sleep apnea, and REM sleep behavior disorder. In many cases its seen that sleep talking runs in families, although external factors seem to stimulate the behavior.

In rare cases, sleep talking is connected with a psychiatric disorder or nocturnal seizures.

Connection with sleep talking and medical or mental illness occurs often in persons over 25 years.

People are usually not aware of this, but scientist are not sure if sleep talking actually happens during the sleep or its chatting is linked to nighttime reveries. It seems that talking can occur in any stage of sleep…

Furthermore, there are specific conditions that cause people to shout during sleep, such as REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) and sleep terrors.

Symptoms of Sleep Talking

Sleep talking is not linked to a specific sleep stage, and it can occur during any stage of sleep. On the other hand, the weight of sleep is linked to sleep talking.

The lighter the sleep, the more comprehensible the speech. For example, in stages 1 and 2 people usually have entire conversations, while in stage 3 and 4 speech may be just gibberish and moans. Therefore, symptoms can vary in many different levels, like duration and severity.

Severity Criteria of Sleep Talking

      Mild Sleep Talking: episodes appear less than weekly
        Moderate Sleep Talking: episodes appear more than once per week. Can cause disturbance to a bed partner
          Severe Sleep Talking: episodes appear nightly and tend to cause strong interruption of a bed partner’s sleep

        Duration Criteria of Sleep Talking

          Acute: Sleep talking is considered to be acute if it last for one month or less
            Subacute: Sleep talking is considered to be subacute if it last for more than one month and less than a year
              Chronic: Sleep talking is considered to be chronic if it lasts for one year or longer

            Who Chats More?

            Sleep talking is a common situation and widely spread among every age and sex. However, when it comes to the chattiest sleepers the situation is slightly different, as children are known for being the most chatty.

            Around half of all children under the age of 10 are talkers. This condition is known to naturally go away with age, like any other sleep issue common to childhood – like wetting the bed and sleepwalking.

            Percent of adults talking in their sleep is not high. Only 5% of adults experiences regularly talk in their sleep. On the other hand, almost two-thirds of adults actually say something in their sleep at least once every few months. Although women and man are prone to sleep talking, it seems that sleep talking is more common in men than in the ladies world.

            How To Know If You Are a Sleep Talker

            It is extremely challenging to tell if you have been talking in your sleep. However, this is the moment when other people can step in. The most common way for you to learn if you are asleep talker is if someone tells you. Simply as that.

            People will tell you that they had heard you talking, shouting during the night, or just during your napping time. Or someone will just complain about you talking. So, it affects other people’s sleeping habits as well.

            If you want to know if you are a talker, but at the moment you don’t have anyone to track you and tell you, or you are feeling too embarrassed to share this concern, you can use the benefits of the digital world and go all tech-savvy on your sleep.

            ‘Sleep Talk Recorder’ is a Swedish app that launched in 2010 with one goal – to help people learn if they are sleep talkers.

            The app is rather simple and smart, actually.

            It records you while you sleep, BUT you don’t have to listen to seven hours of silence, but just records with a sound.

            Once you listen to your mumbling, monologues or dialogues, you can upload records to the app’s homepage (anonymously), so you can be part of a community of sleep talker and learn others ‘talking’ patterns.

            Treating Sleep Talking

            In general, people do not treat this disorder as its not to severe for most people. However, if the sleep talking is severe and it affects people around you, or if it lasts for a longer period of time, you should talk to your physician or health care provider.

            Bear in mind that with sleep talking there may be an medical explanation for you talking, like stress, nocturia, anxiety or any different sleep disorder, like restless legs syndrome.

            But, make sure that you visit a sleep specialist for a certain diagnosis.

            A sleep specialist will ask you how long you’ve been talking in your sleep. Make sure that you are capable of providing the exact data. If necessary, check with your partner, roommate and parents to see if you have been doing it for your entire life.

            Doctor may order tests, as a sleep study or polysomnogram or sleep recording.

            There are certain steps that you can take in order to reduce sleep talking.

            Improve Your Lifestyle

            Follow a regular sleep schedule, get enough amount of sleep, and practice regular and proper sleep hygiene in order to reduce the severity of sleep talking.

            In addition, reduce the alcohol intake, heavy food especially just before your sleep, and try to control excessive amount of stress.

            Also, treat yourself with healthy tea to improve your sleep. For your roommates and bad partners consider investing in earplugs or a gadget for white noise.

            Some people are keeping a sleep diary in order to identify their sleep patterns and to help the doctor to learn if there is an underlying problem. If you choose this option, be consistent, and keep a sleep diary for at least two weeks.

            Make sure that you note the time you go to bed, when you start feeling sleepy and when you woke up. In addition, you should write down your food and drink habits, as well as exercise patterns.

            Sleep Talking FAQ

            What Causes You To Talk In Your Sleep?

            Firstly, bear in mind that that sleep talking is not necessarily connected with dreaming,. It can happen during any of the sleep stages. However, reasons for sleep talking are many, from past events, stress, anxiety or any other external factor.

            What Does It Mean To Talk In Your Sleep

            Somniloquy or sleep talking disorder is defined as talking during sleep. Talkers are not aware of their actions. Even their sleeping voice is different from regular voice. Some scientist claim that sleep talking is a sign of something more hidden and dangerous.

            How Do I Stop Sleep Talking?

            There is no specific cure when it comes to this sleep disorder, in terms of medicine. However, you can create and maintain healthier lifestyle patterns to support your sleep without talking. Change your diet, exercise more, be careful of alcohol and coffee intake, and make regular doctor check-ins.

            Is It Dangerous To Wake Up A Sleep Talker?

            No, it’s not dangerous. Stories about waking up a sleep talker are a complete myth.

            Is sleep talking a sign of stress?

            Fever, stress, anxiety, and depression are known for leading to many health issues, including sleep talking. Bear in mind that sleep talking is seen in the context of other sleep disorders. Therefore, a doctors visit is a must if you truly want to maintain healthy and non-talkative sleep.