Your partner tells you in the morning that you have been mumbling something in your sleep and you can’t believe that it happened.
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.
That could be an embarrassing situation and what’s worse if it happens during an overnight with friends and other family members?
Sleep talkers typically speak for no more than 30 seconds each episode, but some sleep talks multiple times throughout the night.
However, anything said during sleep by a sleep talker is usually forgotten the next day. According to studies, up to 66% of people have had sleep talking episodes and it’s common for children but only 5% of adults are sleep-talkers.
If you don’t want to recall such an embarrassing moment, continue reading this article for you to be more aware of sleep talking. This guide will pave the way for a better understanding of facts about sleep talking and its causes.
Sleep Talking: What Is It, Causes, and Signs
A person’s late-night rants can be exceptionally well-spoken or mumbled to the point of illegibility. When you’re in a deep sleep, you’re more likely to make simple noises than elaborate speeches. Sleep talkers often appear to be conversing with themselves in their dreams.
Sleep talking is thought to be distinct from other types of sleep vocalizations, such as catathrenia, a breathing disorder that results in audible moans, and REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), in which a person physically acts out their dreams.
However, there have been instances where they have appeared to engage in conversation with others. They may speak softly or loudly. Sharing a bed with someone who talks in their sleep can make it difficult to get enough shut-eye for everyone involved.
What Is Sleep Talking and Who Sleep Talks?
The act of speaking while asleep is known as somniloquy, or sleep talking. It’s a form of parasomnia, abnormal behavior that occurs while you’re asleep. It’s extremely common, but it’s not usually thought of as a medical issue.
You never know what you’re going to hear in the wee hours of the morning. Listeners may find the content offensive or vulgar at times. A typical episode of sleep talking lasts no more than 30 seconds; however, a few people sleep talk several times a night.
This nocturnal matter could be harmless, or it could reveal your darkest secrets if you can speak in complete sentences.
Such confessions, however, should not be taken seriously. Such outbursts are not considered the product of a rational or conscious mind, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Who among us talks in their sleep? Many people talk to themselves while they sleep. According to studies, up to 66% of people have had sleep talking episodes, making it one of the most common parasomnias.
However, it is not common, with only 17% of people reporting sleep talking episodes.
About half of all children between the ages of 3 and 10 talk to each other while they sleep, and about 5% of adults do the same after they retire to bed.
When it comes to adults over the age of 25, the condition is more common when it’s linked to a mental or medical illness. The utterances may occur once a week or once a night.
Girls and boys both talk in their sleep. In addition, some researchers believe that the tendency to talk in one’s sleep may run in families. The results of a 2004 survey found that more than one in ten young children talks to each other while they sleep.
To document an episode, even regular sleep talkers may need to be recorded for four nights or more.
What Causes Someone To Sleep Talks?
When you’re asleep, you might think that you’re talking to yourself. However, scientists are unsure whether or not this type of chatter is connected to nocturnal fantasies. In any stage of sleep, babbling can take place.
Most of the time, sleep talking is an unintentional occurrence. A more serious sleep disorder or health condition, on the other hand, could be the cause.
People talk in their sleep for a variety of reasons. Many people believe that talking in your sleep happens during the REM stage of sleep, or, to put it another way, while dreaming. Sleep talking is common during this stage of sleep, thus it can occur at any stage of sleep.
If you talk in your sleep, this is referred to as a motor breakthrough by sleep therapists, which means the words spoken in the dream are spoken aloud. Sleep talking is also common during a transitory phase, which occurs when you are half-awake.
Sleep talking can be a symptom of certain types of sleep disorders that affect the REM phase. RBD and sleep terrors are two examples of these. Both of these scenarios have the potential to awaken people, usually children, screaming in the middle of the night.
Those with RBD yell, shout, grunt and even sometimes violently punch and kick in their sleep, which is a disorder known as RBD. People with RBD do not suffer from REM sleep paralysis, as is the case for most people.
There’s a chance that they could hurt themselves or their bed partners as a result of this condition.
The following are the most common causes of sleep talking in children and adults:
- Fever and infections
- Sleep deprivation, daytime sleepiness, sleep apnea, nightmares, or a sleep disorder associated with the REM phase are all examples of sleep-related issues.
- Hereditary factors
- Mental illnesses, such as depression, or physical ailments
- Abuse of drugs and alcohol
Only a small percentage of children and adults suffer from the second condition, known as sleep terrors, or night terrors. Screaming, kicking, and pounding are all part of the disorder.
During an episode, you may experience physical symptoms like a racing heart and excessive perspiration, as well as a sudden, startling awakening.
Night terrors and nightmares are distinct from the latter, and the latter is characterized by the inability to recall the incident. Another difference is that the muscles are paralyzed in REM sleep during nightmares.
They are more likely to be awakened by their screams while they’re snoozing (somnambulism). Many people experience night terror in the same way that RBD does, and it’s difficult to wake them up.
Sleep talking is also linked to an eating disorder that occurs during nocturnal waking hours. Sleep eating refers to a state in which someone consumes food as if they were awake. When a person eats while they’re sleeping, they often don’t remember it the next day.
Can Sleep Talking Be Treated?
There is no known cure for sleep talking, but a sleep expert or a sleep center may be able to assist you in managing your condition. In addition, a sleep specialist can assist you in ensuring that your body receives the proper amount of rest at night that it requires.
Shrieking, shouting or violent actions are all signs that you should consult with a sleep specialist if your sleep talking starts suddenly as an adult. If your or your roommate’s sleep is being disrupted by uncontrollable snoring, you may also want to consult a doctor.
And if you have a child who you suspect having trouble sleeping, make an appointment with your pediatrician.
However, sleep talking cannot be diagnosed through the use of any tests. A sleep study or a polysomnogram (polysomnography) may be ordered by your doctor if you show signs of another sleep disorder.
The stages and severity of sleep talking are as follows:
Stages 1 and 2: The sleep talker isn’t asleep as deeply as in stages 3 and 4, so their speech is easier to understand. In stages 1 and 2, sleep talkers can have complete conversations that make sense.
Stages 3 and 4: The sleep talker is in a deeper sleep and speaks in a more difficult-to-understand manner. It may sound like moaning or gibberish to the untrained ear.
The frequency with which sleep talk occurs determines its severity:
Mild: Sleep talk occurs once or twice a month.
Moderate: Once a week, but not every night, sleep talk occurs. The talking does not significantly disrupt the sleep of others in the room.
Serious: Sleep talking occurs every night and can disrupt the sleep of others in the room.
Treatment for snoring is rarely necessary. Severe sleep talking, on the other hand, can be the result of a treatable medical condition or sleep disorder. Consult with your physician to learn about your treatment options.
Trying to tell if you’ve been talking in your sleep is difficult. People often claim to have heard you scream or yell while you were sleeping or otherwise distracted. Alternatively, someone may complain that your sleep talking is keeping them awake at night.
How Can You Reduce Sleep Talking Episodes?
Though it’s not always a big deal, people who share a room with you can find sleep talking pretty annoying, so learning how to stop sleep talking can make for a better night’s sleep for everyone.
No one knows how to stop sleep talking, but there are some things you can do to lessen the chances of having a bad experience.
Focusing on sleep hygiene may be a good place to start if you want to limit or eliminate sleep talking episodes. Most parasomnias are thought to be an abnormal state that alternates between wakefulness and sleep, and this state may be more common when normal sleep patterns are disrupted.
As a result, taking steps to promote consistent and stable sleep, such as sleep talking, may help prevent parasomnias.
Sleep hygiene refers to a person’s sleeping environment as well as their sleeping habits. Sleep talking can be less frequent if you maintain a regular bedtime and get enough sleep.
Stopping sleep talking can also be accomplished by avoiding sleep-inducing substances such as alcohol, heavy meals, and excessive stress.
While healthy sleep tips can be tailored to an individual’s needs, the following are some of the most important ways to improve sleep hygiene:
- Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule daily, including weekends.
- Avoid caffeine and other stimulants especially late in the afternoon and evening,
- Allowing yourself time to relax and wind down, such as dimming lights and putting electronic devices away for at least a half-hour before bedtime.
- Finding time for physical activity and getting regular exposure to daylight.
- Creating a distraction-free sleeping environment with minimal light and noise pollution.
- Creating a comfortable sleeping environment with the best mattresses, pillows, and bedding for your needs
Sleep talking, as previously stated, is usually not harmful. It can, however, be a sign of a more serious sleep disorder in some people. Some people scream or shout while they sleep due to conditions such as REM Behavior Disorder (RBD) and sleep terrors.
When a person suffers from Sleep-Related Eating Disorder (SRED), they may experience sleep talking as well as sleepwalking. If you’re having a hard time sleeping or if you’ve had it for a long time, see your doctor.
Or if you don’t want your partner or roommate to laugh at your ramblings, earplugs are recommended.
As mentioned, sleep talking has been proven to be harmless, however, it is important to focus on the factors that could lessen your or your loved one’s sleep talking activity.
Concentrate on reducing your sleep disruptions rather than trying to cure them. Those are the most effective ways to deal with sleep talking.
Sleep talking may be lessened if you avoid stress, get enough sleep, and eat a healthy diet. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the following symptoms while you sleep, you should seek the advice of a medical professional.