Have you ever been told you talk in your sleep? You’re not alone. Many people experience a sleep talking episode at least once in their life. This harmless sleep condition usually doesn’t impact your quality of sleep at all.
Don’t worry; you’re most likely not spilling any juicy secrets either. Sleep talkers normally only speak for around 30 seconds, and it’s usually nonsensical chatter.
Sleep talking, known scientifically as somniloquy, is a type of parasomnia – an unusual or abnormal behavior that happens while you sleep. It’s unique to other vocalizations that occur in your sleep, such as breathing disorders that cause audible groaning. While labeled “abnormal,” talking in your sleep is common and usually not considered a medical problem.
Why Do People Talk in Their Sleep?
Medical professionals don’t know much about somnology, how to stop sleep talking, why it happens, or what occurs in the brain during sleep talking episodes. It can happen to anyone but seems to be more common in men and children. Some studies suggest there is a genetic component to sleep talking, meaning you may be more likely to have somnology if your parents do.
While sleep talking episodes are brief, some people speak in their sleep several times throughout the night. When sleep talkers wake up, they are unaware that the incident occurred and won’t remember it.
Somniloquy can occur as mumbles, whispers or shouts, and can be in a voice or language different from what the sleep talker typically speaks when awake. Sleep talkers usually seem to be talking to themselves, but may appear to be having a conversation with someone else.
Tips and Tricks for Sleep Talking
Talking in your sleep is harmless, doesn’t require treatment, and will likely go away on its own. However, there are a few things to know about sleep talking that can help you and your sleeping partner get a better night’s sleep.
Is Talking in Your Sleep a Sign of Stress?
Among other factors, causes of sleep talking include:
- Drinking alcohol
- Sleep deprivation
If you find yourself suddenly talking in your sleep, stress may be the cause. Try deep breathing exercises, yoga, or meditation during the day or before bed to mitigate stress.
To reduce sleep talking episodes, you can also try cutting back alcohol consumption, or getting more rest.
Is It Dangerous to Wake Up a Sleep Talker?
While it’s not dangerous to wake up someone talking in their sleep, it is discouraged as it will interrupt their sleep cycle and make them feel disoriented. If you’re struggling to sleep because of your partner’s late-night conversations, you can try a few things:
- Sleep in a different bed or room
- Wear earplugs
- Use a white noise machine
- Talk to a professional about the best ways to ensure you both are getting quality sleep
Sleep Talking Apps
If you’re curious about your subconscious conversations, several phone applications can actually record your sleep-talk episodes.
Apps like Sleep Talk Recorder let you playback your sleep talking episodes when you wake up the next morning.
Should You See a Doctor?
On rare occasions, you may want to see a doctor about your sleep talking. This includes if it starts to impede your sleep quality, and you’re frequently finding yourself exhausted or unable to concentrate. Or if you think it might be because of another more serious medical condition, such as sleep apnea. If you’re over 25 and start sleep talking for the first time, you should consult with a medical professional as there is a chance it may be caused by an underlying health condition.
Sleep talking is a common occurrence, and most likely isn’t something to worry about. There’s no known treatment for sleep talking; however, lifestyle changes may help reduce sleep talking episodes. If you think your sleep talking may be a sign of a more severe sleep condition, consult with a doctor or a sleep center about how to best manage your condition.