Has anyone ever told you that you have been mumbling sweet nothings in your sleep? Or, you might have observed your partner babble in the middle of the night while sleeping. If you are a victim of sleep talking you might be afraid to spill out a long-time secret. Since this can be potentially one of the most embarrassing situations you might want to know “How to stop sleep talking?”
Sleep Talking is also known as ‘Somniloquy’ it is an act of talking during sleep without the person being aware of it. This involves dialogues, monologues, or gibberish mumbling. While for most people this can be rare and short-lived some may experience long-lasting effects.
Since sleep talkers are not aware of their behavior or speech, their language or voice may be different from their actual speech.
Who talks in their sleep?
While sleep talking can be observed in people of any age group it is more prevalent among kids and men. Children aged between 3 and 10 years old have been seen to carry on conversations while asleep.
Also, about 5% of adults sleep talk after falling asleep. Such occurrences can take place either occasionally or every night without any proper pattern.
Research studies reveal that the most uttered word while sleep talking is “no”. Although there is no clear evidence, experts believe that sleep talking maybe a hereditary disorder.
What kind of sleep talker are you?
If you want an in-depth understanding of sleep talking you need to consider the different stages, severity, and duration of such sleep disorder.
- Stage 1 and 2 – In these two stages of sleep, the sleep talker is not in a deep state of sleep. Their sleep talking speech is easier to understand and they have a complete conversation that makes sense.
- Stages 3 and 4 – The sleep talker is in a deeper state of sleep than stages 1 and 2 and their speech is difficult to understand. The conversation is more gibberish and may sound more like moaning.
The severity of sleep talking is determined by how frequently it happens.
- Mild – The intensity is said to be mild when the sleep talking occurs less than once a month.
- Moderate – When the sleep talk happens once every week it is known to be moderate. Such talking does not disturb the sleep of others in the room.
- Severe – This is when sleep talking happens every night and may interfere with the sleep of others in the room.
- Acute – When the sleep talk continues for about a month or less.
- Subacute – When the sleep talk happens for more than a month but less than a year.
- Chronic – When sleep disorder continues for more than a year.
Why do people sleep talk?
Experts are still unaware of the actual reason behind sleep talking. While some relate it to hereditary disorders, others label it as a mental health disorder. Some of the common reasons attributed to sleep talking are as follows –
Exposure to sunlight daily supplies the body with the required amount of Vitamin D. This speeds up the metabolic activity of the body and helps in maintaining a healthy weight. Any disturbance to the body’s metabolism can interfere with the normal sleep cycle and lead to sleep-related disorders like sleep talking.
REM Sleep Behavior Disorder
The Rapid Eye Movement stage or REM accounts for about 20 to 25% of the total time spent sleeping. During this stage, the sleeper has a rising heart rate, high blood pressure, and increased brain activity. Those with REM Sleep Behavior Disorder tend to act out their dream and can sometimes get violent or sleepwalk.
Emotional Stress, Depression, or Anxiety
People with irregular bedtime patterns are more likely to sleep talk. This is because the brain faces problems shutting down during the night time because of irregular sleeping habits due to depression, stress, or anxiety. This overworking of the subconscious mind might lead to talking during sleep.
Researchers have been able to identify a genetic component linked to somniloquy. So, the cause of your sleep talking might be linked to your parents.
Mental Health Disorder
Although there is no clear evidence if your mental health disorder is the reason for such sleep-related problems you should get it diagnosed by a healthcare expert.
This sleep condition is likely to happen with children but can be observed in adults too. In this condition, the person may be screaming, thrashing, yelling, and kicking in his sleep or might be scared of some dream or hallucination subconsciously.
Nocturnal Sleep-related Eating Disorder
In this sleep-related disorder, a person might be eating while asleep and can even make an entire meal without even realizing what they are doing. They might carry out an entire conversation while munching on their favorite meal.
During high fever, the body and brain constantly divert critical energy to boost the body’s immune system rather than regulating the normal functioning of the body while resting. This makes your brain more exhausted causing you to sleep talk.
Research studies reveal that people who do not get enough sleep face problems shifting between different sleep stages. Lack of a restful night’s sleep might be the reason behind sleep talking.
Some drugs work as stimulants, either keeping you awake or inducing a state of drowsiness. Either of the effects is artificial and disturbs the circadian rhythm of the body. This disturbance to the internal clock timing of the body can lead to talking while you are asleep.
If you are prey to any of the above conditions try correcting them by following the techniques on “How to stop sleep talking?” or seek medical assistance.
So, How to stop sleep talking?
If you or your bed partner is a sleep-talker you must be searching for an answer to “How to stop sleep talking?” Unfortunately, there is no medication or specific treatment for somniloquy. But the good news is the condition is often short-lived and can be corrected or minimized using certain self-help techniques.
If you are sleep talking
One of the commonly attributed reasons for sleep talking is stress. While a certain degree of stress can promote mental health, if you are stressed for a long period it can be detrimental to your health. General stress, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder all can result in disrupted sleep.
Work on the various measures to minimize stress such as engaging in physical activity, deep breathing exercises, practicing mindfulness, and journaling. This can help in eliminating one of the underlying causes responsible for sleep talking.
Maintain a sleep diary
If you want to get to the bottom of your sleep-related disorder maintain a sleep diary to track your sleep patterns. Did you sleep talk after having a glass of wine at night? Or is it the result of any medicine that you had taken the night before?
Take note of every detail related to your sleep such as the time you go to bed, the medicines that you take, any disturbances in your normal sleep routine, the time you wake up, etc. Follow this for a couple of weeks to identify any patterns responsible for your sleep talking.
Limit the intake of alcohol and caffeine
Alcohol, caffeine, and certain other drugs are known to act as stimulants, keeping you awake by blocking the chemicals responsible for making you feel sleepy. Consuming these products prior to bed can contribute to sleep deprivation, thereby increasing your chances of sleep talking. Limiting the intake of these stimulants is likely to reduce the possibility of somniloquy.
Follow a regular exercise routine
Regular exercise is necessary for maintaining good physical, mental, and emotional health. Remember not to engage in any high-intensity workout prior to sleep as it can boost your energy levels and interfere with your sleep cycle. Engage in physical exercise either in the morning or early evening to ensure a restful night’s sleep.
Improve your sleep hygiene
Some essential tips to improve your sleep schedule are as follows –
- Establish a sleep schedule and strictly adhere to it.
- For superior comfort and support use good pillows and mattresses.
- Stay away from all potential disturbances such as bright lights and noise before sleep.
- Maintain an optimal temperature in your bedroom (around 60 to 70°F)
- Disconnect from all blue-light emitting gadgets at least two hours prior to sleep.
- Follow some soothing bedtime rituals such as taking a warm shower, meditating, engaging in some light reading, journaling, etc.
If your partner is sleep talking
Get a quieter mattress
If you are a light sleeper consider investing in a quieter mattress like latex beds or memory foam. This minimizes your chances of getting up by acting as a great motion isolator.
Consider noise-reducing sleep products
Various white noise machines are being used as sleep aids for years. You can consider purchasing one of them or use a white noise app on your smartphone. Streamline earplugs can also help to some extent.
Frequently Asked Questions :
Although sleep talking may include content from the person’s past experiences and relationships it is not always the case. There is no clear evidence to establish the fact and facts disclosed during sleep talking is also not admissible in the court of law.
Since researchers are still unaware of the reason behind people talking in their sleep there is no established treatment for the same. However, you can implement some of the techniques recommended for “How to stop sleep talking?” to minimize the chances of its occurrence.
Suddenly waking up a person who is sleep talking will not cause any damage to his/her heart or brain. So, there is no potential threat involved.