Here’s why you could be talking in your sleep

Updated at: Sep 01, 2017
Here’s why you could be talking in your sleep

Sleep talking is an abnormal behaviour that takes place during sleep. It's a very common occurrence and is not usually considered a medical problem. Here are some things you would want to know about it.

Ariba Khaliq
Mental HealthWritten by: Ariba KhaliqPublished at: Sep 01, 2017

Have you ever been told by your family, roommates or spouse that you whisper words in your sleep. The phenomenon of sleep talking can raise many questions in your mind, so here are some of the answers.

What is sleep talking?

Somniloquy, commonly known as sleep talking, is an abnormal sleep disorder in which the person talks when he is actually asleep without being aware of it. If you go by studies, sleep talking is not a product of the conscious mind. Sleep talkers usually talk to themselves, but they can even laugh, whisper or shout. Episodes of sleep talking does not last more than 30 seconds at a time and it is rare for a person to have more than one episode per night. Sleep talkers might use words that are not used in everyday life and sometimes even murmur, making it difficult to understand what the person is trying to say.

Who is more prone to sleep talking?

Sleep talking is a common phenomenon, with some doing it once in a blue moon and others doing it every night. However, sleep talking is most common among children between the ages of 3 to 10. Almost 5 percent of adults also sleep talk, with most of them being males.

What causes sleep talking?

Sleep talking usually occurs by itself and is harmless. But in some cases, it may also be an indication of a serious sleep disorder. Some of the common causes of sleep talking are:

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Day time drowsiness
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Hereditary factors
  • Nightmares
  • Sleep terrors
  • Sleep apnoea
  • REM sleep behaviour disorder
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Nocturnal seizures
  • Mental or medical illnesses
  • Substance abuse 

Can sleep talking be treated? 

You don't need a specific treatment to prevent you from talking in your sleep. If your sleep talking is severe and disturbs your roommate or bed partner too much then pay a visit to your physician. There may be an underlying medical explanation for your sleep talking.

You can however reduce the occurrence of sleep talking by following these tips:

  • Follow a regular sleep schedule and maintain a sleep diary, noting down the time that you went to bed, the time that you probably fell asleep and the time that you woke up.
  • Get adequate sleep, as the most common cause of sleep talking is sleep deprivation.
  • Practice proper sleep hygiene to reduce the frequency and severity of sleep talking.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol, other caffeinated drinks and heavy meals to reduce sleep talking.

Talking in your sleep can be innocent or the beginning of something much graver. It is very important that you learn all about your condition and take immediate steps to treat it if it is serious.
Images: Getty


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