According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, somniloquy, also known as sleep talking is a condition that impacts half of all young children and nearly five percent of all adults. While it can be somewhat alarming and completely frustrating at times, there are also nuggets of humor to be found in the sleep talking process. The main thing to remember is that sleep talking alone is rarely cause for alarm and is more common than most people realize.
What is Sleep Talking?
The problem is that it can be different among different people. There is no static rule for what it sounds or looks like. It can be loud and alarming. The words can sound harsh and angry. Or it can be soft and melodic in a sort of sing-song voice. It can be complete sentences that are perfectly understandable, one word statements, or even total gibberish. It can sometimes be very graphic and adult in nature. At times, the talk can be downright humorous, as captured by a loving wife of her “Sleep Talkin’ Man” husband.
While many people believe that it’s associated with dreams, there has been no scientific evidence to support or disprove that assumption. Regardless of the how sleep talking manifests itself, the long and short of it is that sleep talking is talking while asleep that is similar in nature to sleep walking, sleep eating, and night terrors.
What Causes Sleep Talking?
Many factors are believed to contribute to sleep talking. Young children are well-known to sleep talk, upon reaching adulthood, the numbers diminish greatly. These are a few of the commonly recognized causes of sleep talking however:
- Genetics – many researchers believe this condition runs in families
- Medications – certain medications have been known to cause sleep talking as a side effect
- Fever – a lot of people will talk in their sleep when suffering from a high fever
- Sleep deprivation – the mind does funny things when people are sleep deprived
- Emotional stress – the subconscious doesn’t necessarily shut down when the body does.
These are not the only potential causes of sleep talking, but are among some of the most common. The important thing to take home from this though is that it’s generally not something to be worried about or alarmed by.
Can Sleep Talking be Prevented?
If the sleep talking is particularly bothersome or accompanied by symptoms of further sleep problems, it might be worth conducting a sleep study to get to the bottom of it, or at least to give you peace of mind. There are some medications that can help, but most of the time they aren’t medically necessary. Other things you may wish to try in order to limit sleep talking events include:
- Getting plenty of good, quality sleep (preferably on a high-quality latex mattress)
- Increasing your daily exercise
- Decreasing caffeine and alcohol intake – particularly near bedtime
- Talk to your physician about changing medications if you believe your medicine is causing the sleep talking
These aren’t definitive cures, but they may help reduce the instances of sleep talking among some people. However, sleep talking is rarely dangerous to anyone and isn’t something that is necessary to cure unless it bothers you or your sleep partner. In that case, you may both look for ways to embrace the situation and find the humor in it.
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