We talk during our waking period. At least, that’s how it seems it should be. However, there are people who talk in their sleep, and you may have done the same, on a few occasions. It’s not known why we sleep-talk, but we do know that it’s more common in children and only about 5 percent of adults do it. It can range from speaking gibberish to coherent sentences and can last from a couple of seconds to more. While the thought of accidentally spilling the beans about something during sleep is nerve-wracking, the good news is that sleep talking isn’t generally serious. However, it does need attention if it accompanies disorders and health conditions.
Sleep talking or somniloquy is classified as a parasomnia, which is a sleep disorder that deviates from normal sleep behavior. Parasomnias usually occur during transitions between sleep stages. In the case of sleep talking, it can happen in both REM and NREM sleep. However, if a sleep talker speaks during lighter stages of sleep such as stage 1 and stage 2, the speech is more intelligible. Sleep talking during stage 3 and 4 of sleep usually consists of gibberish. Sleep talkers also usually have no memory that they speak so if you hear something surprising and ask them about it the next day, they won’t be able to answer.
Sleep talking can happen by itself or with other parasomnias like sleepwalking. It can be genetic, so if your parents or relatives have a history of sleep talking, there’s a higher risk for you. It may also be brought on by sleep deprivation, stress, depression, alcohol, and fever. Those who have sleep disorders like sleepwalking and sleep apnea have a greater chance of being sleep talkers too.
Sleep talking isn’t dangerous and usually doesn’t require treatment. However, if you have a bed partner who’s frequently disturbed by your somniloquy, you may be compelled to seek treatment for their sake. It’s important to note that while sleep talking isn’t dangerous, you should see a doctor if it accompanies disorders like sleep apnea, sleepwalking, REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) or sleep terrors. They’re a lot riskier than merely talking in your sleep.
For instance, sleep apnea raises the risk for health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. With sleepwalking, you can injure yourself by walking into objects or falling. If you have RBD, you can hurt yourself or your bed partner when you act out your dreams. Those who have sleep terrors – typically children – may scream, thrash and experience intense fear. They may also become aggressive when restrained.
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Stress can’t be avoided but learning to manage stress may reduce sleep talking. Regular exercise improves mood by releasing feel-good chemicals like endorphins. The better you feel, the less likely you are to let stress get to you. Exercise also helps you sleep better as it increases the amount of deep or slow wave sleep (SWS) that you get.
Alcohol is believed to contribute to sleep talking, and it also interferes with sleep quality. The recommended intake of alcohol is two drinks a day for men and one for women. If you like nightcaps, you should consider eliminating them. It takes about an hour for the body to metabolize one drink, so you don’t want to have it too close to bedtime.
Your bedroom should be such that when you enter it, you feel a sense of calm and relaxation. You don’t need to spend a fortune for this; just keep it cool, quiet and dark. It should also be clutter-free as a messy room can stress you out. The bed you sleep on should be comfortable too so that you sleep interrupted through the night.
The Nuvanna mattress is designed to promote better sleep, thanks to its three-layer construction. It’s the brainchild of a mattress scientist who spent more than two decades in the industry and used his vast experience to design Nuvanna. The top layer cools the body with the help of phase-changing gel particles that absorb heat and disperse it. The second layer isolates motion and lets you and your bed partner move without disturbing each other. The bottom layer provides support to the entire body and keeps the spine aligned, making it one of the best mattresses to prevent back pain.
Sleep talking isn’t dangerous, but it’s a nuisance for bed partners. If you’ve been known to sleep-talk or you share space with someone who does, try reducing it with DIY remedies like those given above. You can consult a doctor if you sleep talk often or if it accompanies sleep disorders as they pose a risk to your wellbeing.