How to stop Sleep Talking - Simple Tips & Ways That You Must Try

Posted 5 months ago by Prakhar Parihar in

When we see people talking in their sleep, at first, it seems like a funny situation. But it can also unsettle people due to the detailed and absurd nature these words uttered while under slumber can take. Many people are not aware that it is actually a sleep disorder which is not as uncommon as one would think or assume. It is technically known as somniloquy and it is defined as the sleep disorder in which people talk while they are unconscious and are not aware that they are talking. It can involve people talking gibberish, or talking in complete coherent sentences, or people just make guttural sounds like moaning or incomprehensible forms like mumbling. People can also give fully formed monologues while asleep. Luckily, this condition affects people for a limited amount of time and goes away by itself in a few days. This sleep disorder, like most things concerning our sleep and our mind and body's behavior during it, not much is known, or at least, understood about it. Like what is the cause and origins of the content or why it happens, what its triggers are. There is no consistent rule but many times, the content is related to the dreams being experienced by the sleeper, and many times it is related to the person's psyche and experiences, and there are also many times where it is hard to discern where the content came from. This condition, although abnormal, is not considered physically harmful to health. Still, it can cause many inconveniences to people, especially to the ones who have to sleep in the same room as the person suffering from it. Sleep talkers often define this condition as being extremely embarrassing and disruptive to their relationships. Hence, it is not a totally harmless situation and requires deeper scrutiny and study so that people can manage it better. That is why we have brought to you this post which will tell you everything of importance and relevance which you will need to know if you suffer from this, or someone close to your suffers from this. So, without further ado, let us dive into the meat and potatoes of this post.

  1. What is Sleep Talking really?
  2. Symptoms of Sleep Talking
  3. Who suffers from this issue the most?
  4. Reasons Behind Sleep Talking
  5. How to Stop Sleep Talking


What is Sleep Talking really?

As mentioned previously, this is a sleep[1] disorder which is formally known as Somniloquy[2], and people suffering from it talk, mumble[3], or make noises while they are asleep without being aware of it. Somniloquy is classified as a parasomnia[4]. Parasomnias are sleep disorders[5] which happen to a person when they are in between separate stages of sleep. Sleepwalking[6], nightmare[7], night terrors[8], bedwetting[9], etc are all examples of parasomnias. These can be harmful and disruptive to the health or be totally physically harmless like sleep talking. Anyone can suffer from these but they are more frequent and common in underage people. The reasons behind what causes these are not fully known or understood but they could be caused by various psychological[10] and neurological factors like medication, stress[11], or substance abuse.

How to stop Sleep Talking

People suffering from somniloquy may talk or speak about a variety of things. Some people can have whole conversations with imaginary parties while some will just blurt out a few random words or phrases. People usually swear and use explicit language a lot or some people just utter random noises or gibberish which makes no discernible sense. The type is also sometimes connected to the stage of sleep the person is in. for instance, sleep talkers[12] talking when they are in light sleep stage will generally utter words which are legible and comprehensible whereas if they are in deep sleep, the grunts and unclear utterances are more common. However, the episodes of talking while sleeping usually do not last very long.


Symptoms of Sleep Talking

Since people suffering from this talk in their sleep, this condition mostly goes unnoticed unless observed by someone else. That is why it is hard to figure out if one does sleep talk unless someone else informs them. So, you will not be able to figure out if you have this unless someone else like your partner informs you of this. Sleep talking can happen to someone when they are in any stage of their sleep. It can occur both in light and deep sleep. However, if it occurs when the person is in stage 1 and 2 of sleep, the speech is more likely to be comprehensible and sensible but if it happens in deep sleep or REM sleep[13], the speech may be limited to guttural sounds and unintelligible speech. The sleep foundation has also defined sleep talking's severity levels. According to them, the severity of sleep talking is mild when instances of sleep talking do not happen regularly weekly. It is considered to be moderate in severity if episodes happen every week but not every night. Finally, sleep talking is considered to be severe if it is happening every night and it would disturb or interrupt a partner's sleep. It can also be classified by the duration it has been going on. It is considered acute if it has been happening for less than a month and subacute if it has been happening for more than a month but less than a year. If it has been going on for more than a year then it is termed as a chronic condition. Other than all these symptoms there can a few other ones which can signify some issue with your sleep. Those symptoms are sleepwalking, night terrors, sleep apnea[14], nocturnal seizures[15] and other psychiatric and sleep-related disorders.


Who suffers from this issue the most?

Sleep talking is much more common than you would have guessed. About 5% of all adults talk in their sleep regularly and about two-thirds of all the adults will say something or other in their sleep every few weeks or months. It is just that it mostly just goes unnoticed, for obvious reasons. Sleep talking is also much more common in children, like any other parasomnia. About half of all children under the age of ten would talk in their sleep. A poll conducted in 2004 revealed that more than 1 in 10 young children talk while sleeping a few nights every week. However, like most other parasomnia, people apparently grow out of it as they enter their adulthood and many of the children who talk while sleeping won't anymore as the years pass by. Gender does not have any apparent effect on this phenomenon but there are more reports of men doing this but that could be because of other unrelated reasons.

In a recent study on sleep talking, many interesting things were found out about the condition of sleep talking and the content of what people talk about when asleep. It was found in the study that most of the talk which was had by test subjects were of the nonverbal variety. That means more than half of all the utterances were something like groans, moans, laughs, etc. It was also found that the person sleep talking follows normal patterns of conversation. But much more profanity was used and also men sleep talked more than the women. There was also an unusual amount of negatory statements and the word which was uttered most frequently was no and its variants.

Consequently, if you have someone in your life who talks while sleeping, they might get much more profane and vulgar in their speech and may also say condemning, offensive or hurtful things. In this case, it is important to remember that there is no sense or insight into psyche or behavior to be found in those words or at least, we still do not know what it pertains to. So, you should try to brush it off as you would some absurd dream.


Reasons Behind Sleep Talking

Again, as mentioned previously, there is no concrete research which reveals the reason why people suffer from this. But like anything and everything, there have been a few theories and estimations regarding the cause behind sleep talking. It could be genetic too or it may be caused by some underlying mental health issue which hasn't been completely connected. Alternatively, it can also be brought on by various mental stressors like sleep deprivation, stress, medication or substance abuse. There is a common myth which approximates that sleep talking is directly related to what the person is dreaming about. However, this has been scientifically dispelled and it has been shown that talking in sleep can occur in any stage of the sleep, including light sleep and deep REM sleep.

Other mental factors like anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems can also cause sleep talking in some people. However, factors like fever and alcohol and recreational drugs are also known to bring about some people to sleep talking. However, talking in sleep can also be a sign of some other, more harmful, sleep disorder like REM Sleep behavior disorder. REM sleep is the Rapid Eye Movement stage of sleep. It is the time where our brain is most busty while we are sleeping and it makes up about a quarter of all of our sleeping time. In this stage of sleep, the brain is on almost similar levels of activity as it is when we are awake. However, your body is paralyzed during this stage so that you do not act out the dreams which are happening inside your head. Now, people can have a disorder which is known as REM sleep behavior disorder or RBD in which people act out their dreams. This can result in them thrashing around violently, moving around and it can also result in the person talking. So, talking during sleep can be a symptom of this disorder and you should consult a doctor as soon as possible if you think you might be suffering from it.

Mental disorder and issues like depression and anxiety can also have a hand in the occurrence of sleep talking. People with such mental issues have been linked with increased instances of talking in their sleep. The exact reason for causation is not understood completely but it is theorized that people with such mental issues find it hard to get deep restful slumber which could lead to talking in the sleep due to reasons like sleep deprivation. Links have been found which connect mental health disorder to sleep talking but an accurate relationship between them has not been discovered so it is not fully clear which factor has more of an effect on the other one.

People may sleep talk because it is written in their genes. That is right, some recent research has linked talking in sleep to genetic factors. Hence, if your parents or one of them talks in their sleep, there is a solid chance of you also getting that gene dominant and also talk in your sleep.

People suffering from fever are quite likely to start talking in their sleep. During such states, the body is working overtime and so is unsurprisingly quite tired and fatigued. All the energy is diverted to fighting off the diseases and so it is unlikely to get a restful night of sleep. All this makes it much more likely for the person to sleep talk.


How to Stop Sleep Talking

So, as is apparent, it is not clear what causes the sleep talking, but there are several steps which you can follow which will help you get a night of more sound and restful sleep while also eliminating factors which could be leading to you having sleep issues and talking in sleep episodes. Talking in sleep, while harmless to the person who is doing it, can be extremely annoying and disruptive to the person who is on the other end of it. So, it is useful and valuable to people suffering from this to learn of techniques which will help them minimize this phenomenon and not disturb others nearby too much.

That concludes this post. We hope you have found all the information you needed to learn more about talking in your sleep and the ways which you can take to remedy this disorder. We wish you all the best and remember to always consult your doctor first to deal with any medical situation you have got going on.


This article has been medically reviewed by Dr.Geeta Sundar on 02/06/19 

How to stop Sleep Talking - Simple Tips & Ways That You Must Try

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