What Does Talking in Your Sleep Mean?
Sleep plays a vital role in our well being, but there are a number of things that can happen while we are sleeping that we are totally unaware of. For example, what does talking in your sleep mean? In this article we will discuss whether it’s a problem or simply a natural thing that happens to some people.
What is Sleep Talking?
Sleep talking is also known as somniloquy, and is when someone is completely unaware of the fact they are speaking while they are asleep. It is classed as a sleep disorder and can describe a wide range of symptoms. Some people may occasionally whisper quietly, while others speak loudly in long sentences. The words can be nonsensical, and sometimes the person who is asleep will hold a full conversation with another person in the room.
It can be worrying and embarrassing, because people who sleep talk don’t have the same controls over what they say as when they are awake, but normally it isn’t anything to be overly concerned about.
Who Sleep Talks?
Pretty much everybody is likely to sleep talk at some point in their lives, with it usually being a short-term thing that soon goes away again, but there are some groups of people who are more likely to sleep talk than others.
Studies have shown that over half of children between the ages of three and ten years old will exhibit some signs of sleep talking, with ten percent doing so more than once every week. In adults it is far less common, with about five percent of people regularly speaking while asleep. It is slightly more common with men, and researchers suspect it may be a hereditary condition.
What Causes Talking in Your Sleep?
A number of factors are thought to increase someone’s propensity to sleep talk. One common misconception is that the words being spoken are related to what the person is dreaming about, but there seems to be no link between the two. For sure it can happen in conjunction with other disorders like nightmares, but the actual trigger for talking in your sleep comes from somewhere else.
As sleep is a delicate process, the things thought to induce talking are similar to those that can cause other problems as well. These include anxiety, depression, a lack of sleep, drink or drug abuse. In all these cases, the talking is simply a symptom of other troubles, so it will go away once things have returned to normal.
Some conditions that cause sleep talking are more serious, though. Night terrors can cause the person to scream, shout, and thrash, and disorders associated with REM sleep can cause someone to groan, grunt, act out their dreams, and behave violently. In these cases it is worth seeking advice from a doctor about things you can do to reduce the problems.
When Does Sleep Talking Occur?
Sleep talking can happen during any stage of your sleep, but quite often will be more prominent during the early stages. It’s not only night sleeping either, it can happen during afternoon naps or any other time you’re having a rest.
Is it Normal to Talk in Your Sleep?
Sleep talking is something most people will do at some point in their lives, and can be brought on by emotional triggers like feeling particularly stressed or anxious. It isn’t anything to worry about, unless it makes you feel embarrassed, and will usually last for a short amount of time before reverting to normal.
How to Stop Sleep Talking
As we have said earlier, certain things can increase your chance of sleep talking, so by controlling these you should be able to stop it from happening as much. The trick is to improve your sleep in general. You can do this by exercising more, making sure you get six to eight hours of sleep each night (preferably at the same time each night), and trying to confront any high levels of stress or anxiety you are facing during the day.
It’s also a good idea not to drink alcohol or have a cigarette within an hour of going to bed, as the chemicals these put into your body can have detrimental effects.
The Final Verdict
At first sleep talking can seem funny, but it can soon become difficult if you are disrupting yourself or other people with noises or inappropriate words. Some people are more likely to talk in their sleep than others, and there are some genetic factors that increase the chances, but the most influential factor is your overall stress and anxiety levels.
If you’re trying to figure out “what does talking in your sleep mean?”, the answer is probably that you need to take care of yourself a bit better and make sure you’re regularly getting a good night’s sleep.