Whether you do it, or your partner is the perpetrator, sleep talking is quite a bizarre concept. It can range from random mumbling, full on conversations or even shouting – but why exactly do we do it? Here’s what you need to know:
What is sleep talking?
Sleep talking, or somniloquy if you want its official term, is a type of parasomnia, a sleep disorder that involves abnormal movements, behaviors, dreams and perceptions.Sleep talking can happen at any time during the sleep state but usually occurs during the transitions from being awake to NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep and being awake to REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. According to Sleepy People, sleep talking normally lasts no longer than 30 seconds, and can either have the clarity of a normal conversation, or be heavily mumbled.
What causes sleep talking?
A common misconception is that sleep talking occurs when a person is dreaming, but that’s often not the case.According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep talking can be brought on by a number of things including stress, depression, sleep deprivation, alcohol, fever, and even particular medications. Many believe sleep talking can also run in the family, but it can also occur alongside other sleep disorders such as sleep terrors (or night terrors) and REM sleep disorder (RBD).Night terrors usually involve thrashing, kicking and screaming during sleep, while those suffering with RBD tend to shout and grunt, often more violently.
How can sleep talking be treated?
Usually sleep talking is nothing to worry about and can often go untreated. However, if it’s affecting your sleep, or those you live with, it might be time to seek out a sleep professional. It’s always best to speak to your doctor to see if your harmless mumbling is actually something more serious, like a severe sleep disorder, or anxiety issues – otherwise, try to reduce the stress in your life and do your best to get the recommended eight hours of sleep every night.