Talking whilst fast asleep, is also known as somniloquy. This phenomenon often occurs together with other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and nightmares or Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage disorders.
Sleep talking is a condition that is characterized by conversation, dialogue or mumbling of insensible and irrelevant words by whilst a person is deeply asleep. The sleep talker is usually totally unaware of this behaviour and will not remember a thing in the morning. Sometime the sleep talker’s tone of voice may be a little different or they may shout out.
In some cases, talking in the sleep, can occur as a result of the surroundings. Often if a person is dreaming (during rem sleep) and somebody tries to talk to them sleep talking can spontaneously occur. The content of what the sleep talker actually says may be totally random or it may be about past experiences or future plans.
Sleep talking tends to make the sufferer feel very uncomfortable, due to the fact that they have no conscious control over what they are saying. Indeed some of the content may be embarrassing especially if it entails secrets that one is ashamed to talk about on a conscious level.
Other times sleep talking is simply an annoyance to the bed partner who may be woken up by the nocturnal ramblings.
Causes of Sleep Talking
Signs and Symptoms
• The most obvious sign is that the sleeper is whispering, talking, murmuring, mumbling or shouting in their sleep. This can consist of either random gibberish words or be full sentences or phrases. Normally nonsensical talk occurs in non-rem stages of sleep and full sentences, or words in rem sleep.
• Twitching will often be noticeable whilst the person is talking.
• Sleep walking may well accompany sleep talking.
• Teeth Grinding during sleep.
• Nightmares or night terrors may also be observed. Sleep talking, especially shouting or screaming, can also be a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Treatment of Sleeptalking
Usually it is not necessary to undergo any treatment for sleep talking. Most of us have had a little chat out loud in our sleep at one stage or another.
However, if sleep talking is accompanied by other sleep problem such as apnea, sleep terrors or snoring then it may be worthwhile to get checked out by a health care provider or sleep specialist.
Sleep talking is more common in children, but normally this improves or stops altogether as they become older.
If sleep talking causes a real problem, as in it is disturbing your own sleep or that of your partner then seek a medical opinion to rule out any underlying sleep disorders and medical or emotional conditions such as extreme anxiety.
Also, if you suffer from daytime sleepiness because of continuous disturbed night’s sleep then this can become a health issue and may need treatment.
Maintain good sleep hygiene. To understand more of the ways in which you can improve your sleep see our Top Tips for a healthy night’s sleep.