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Why Do You Talk in Your Sleep?

Do you talk in your sleep? (image via flickr)

Everyone talks in their sleep from time to time and most of the time when we do, we don’t make much sense.  However, sometimes, our nocturnal nattering can offer great comic relief for the other people in our lives.  Whether we are going on and on about a giant insect or flirting with someone in our dreams, the words and phrases that break through can offer a peek inside our subconscious and an often comedic look inside our dreams.

People who talk out loud while they are asleep without any awareness of doing so may have a sleep disorder called Somniloquy.  According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM),  about 5% of adults suffer from this sleep problem.  Unlike many other sleep disorders, sleep talking is not harmful or even disruptive to the person doing the talking.  It can however cause problems with roommates and bed partners who may be unable to sleep next to their chatty companion.  Additionally, children who struggle with talking in their sleep can develop social anxiety about sleeping away from home.

There is no clear reason why some people talk in their sleep more than others.   Sleep talking can increase in people who are depressed, who have a fever, or who are sleep-deprived.  It is also very common for people who struggle with sleep talking to also have another sleep disorder like sleep apnea and night terrors.

No one really knows where the content of our sleep ramblings comes from.  Sometimes, people will talk so coherently that they seem to be having a complete conversation even though they are asleep.  Other times the words and sounds being uttered don’t make any sense at all.  You don’t have to be in a specific stage of sleep to experience episodes of sleep talking.

If you or someone in your life struggles with sleep talking, there are some steps you can take to alleviate the problem and limit the number of episodes.


1.     Watch Your Stress

Stress can increase the how often you talk in your sleep and may make sleep talking episodes more severe.  In order to keep quiet while you are asleep, take steps to alleviate any stress you cannot eliminate each day.


2.     Get a Good Night’s Sleep

If you are low on sleep, you may be more likely to talk while you are sleeping.  Combat your need to chat by going to bed on time, practicing good sleep hygiene, and tracking your sleep to make sure you are getting enough.


3.     Stay Sober

Alcohol is another sleep talking instigator.  If you are keeping your partner awake at night, look at what you had to eat and drink that night.  Consuming alcohol close to bedtime can lead to more talking in your sleep.  Skip the scotch and let your partner sleep tonight.


Although sleep talking isn’t harmful in and of itself, you should talk to your doctor about your symptoms because sleep talking may indicate the presence of another sleep disorder.


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