Talking during sleep is called “somniloquy”. Most of the time, only incomprehensible sounds are audible. But some people say words and even sentences. Often, the “conversations” are not understandable since the muscles we need for talking are mostly inactive during sleep.
Somniloquy is no disease, it is a quite often occurring behavioral abnormality during sleep. About 5 % of all grown-ups are concerned and of children up to puberty even 50 %. Since evt. existing partners sleep themselves, the phenomenon often remains undetected.
Actually, somniloquy is harmless and may occur by itself or with other sleep disturbances. The only negative side effect is that the bedpartner might be disturbed by the mumbling.
Usually, talking during sleep occurs during REM-sleep. Here, it is possible that people concerned are saying out loud dreamed sentences. But, during the change of single sleeping phases in non-REM-sleep somniloquy might occur, too.
The causes are not fully examined, yet. But, it is proven that different influences like mental stress situations, fever, alcohol and the intake of certain medications favor talking during sleep.
Somniloquy often occurs more frequently within of families. This leads to the conclusion that it is hereditary. Still, the phenomenon also might occur, when no one else in the family is concerned.
As long as you are only speaking during sleep and are not suffering under other sleeping problems, no treatment is necessary. Only, when somniloquy starts to be a social disturber or is leading to sleeplessness, a therapy might be considered.
There are simple remedies for self-treatment. The exercise of certain relaxation methods like Autogenous Training, Qigong or Yoga may reduce the frequency. People concerned should also pay attention to their sleep hygiene. For example, no alcohol and no heavy meals before going to bed. And of course, a regular sleeping rhythm is very important. Physical exercise during day as well as do without caffeine for a couple of weeks are further supporting.
In case, talking during sleep is triggered by an increased psychological stress or mental disturbances it is advisable to seek professional advice.
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