By: Lauri Leadley, CCSH, RPSGT – Clinical Sleep Educator|Sleep Coach
Have you been told by your partner or friends that you talk in your sleep? Does that worry you? If yes, you are not alone. A lot of my patients have voiced similar concerns about sleep talking.
Sleep talking, which is also known as somniloquy, is a sleep disorder. A person who sleep talks often does so without knowing they are talking in their sleep.
Some sleep talkers just mumble or talk gibberish. Others might carry out monologues or conversations.
But why are people nervous or worried about sleep talking? Well, one possible reason is that a sleep talker is not aware of their behavior. This can lead to their voice and language differing from their normal speech and tone – this can be scary for their partner…and scary when this information is relayed to the sleep talker!
Another reason why people are nervous about sleep talking is because they fear that while sleep talking, they might accidently reveal hidden secrets or aspects about themselves they would rather keep to themselves.
All these concerns are normal. But here’s the thing – in most cases, sleep talking is not a permanent occurrence – not only is it short-lived, but it is also rather rare.
If, however, your sleep talking is chronic in nature, I would recommend you consult with a professional sleep coach – especially if you suffer from another sleep disorder.
What Leads to Sleep Talking?
There are several factors which may lead to a person talking in their sleep. Some common culprits include depression, anxiety, sleep deprivation, stress, drugs, nightmares, and alcohol. A person suffering from high fever might also sleep talk.
In a number of people, other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea can also lead to sleep talking. And while it is rare, some patients sleep talk due to a psychiatric disorder or nocturnal seizures.
Sleep talking can also be hereditary – so it is not entirely uncommon to find patients with a family history of sleep talking.
Another important factor to note here is that in most cases, sleep talking, if it is linked to a medical or mental condition, usually affects those over the age of 25.
Understanding Sleep Talking
Sleep talking differs both in severity and duration. So, during REM sleep, sleep talking is mostly comprehensible. However, during non-REM sleep stages (stages 3 and 4) sleep talking just sounds like gibberish.
- Sleep talking is diagnosed as mild if the episodes occur less than once a week.
- The severity level is defined as moderate if sleep talking episodes occur more than once per week, but they don’t occur every night, and may only cause a mild disturbance to a partner.
- Sleep talking is defined as severe if episodes occur every night and lead to consistent sleep disruptions for a partner.
As mentioned above, the duration of sleep talking also differs. So, if the occurrence is for one month or less, then the condition is acute. If it extends beyond a month, but less than 1 year, then it is defined as subacute.
If, however, it lasts for a year or more, then the condition is defined as chronic.
Can Sleep Talking be Treated?
In most cases, sleep talking does not require any comprehensive treatment. Unless the condition is diagnosed as severe or chronic.
If you or someone you know suffers from sleep talking, the best course of action is to first talk to your health care provider or doctor about it.
You could also consult with a professional sleep coach to assess if there is an underlying condition such as sleep apnea, or some other undiagnosed sleep disorder, which is triggering your sleep talking.
As mentioned above, sleep talking could be due to a mental or medical condition. The best way to be sure is to seek professional medical help.
If stress or another sleep disorder is causing sleep talking, then in addition to addressing the underlying condition, focusing on good sleep hygiene, keeping away from alcohol or drugs, and avoiding heavy foods can also help in reducing the occurrence of sleep talking.
Valley Sleep Center – We Can Help You Sleep Better!
Worried about sleep talking? If yes, then you need help. Contact us at Valley Sleep Center for accurate analysis and treatment options for your sleep disorder.
To consult with professional sleep coach Lauri Leadley, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.