Why Do We Talk In Our Sleep?
Are you aware that you talk while sleeping? Or have you had an experience with someone sleep talking? Have you ever asked yourself ‘why do we talk in our sleep?’ This article will take you through all that you need to know about sleep talking and hopefully find the right solution for you.
What is Sleep Talking?
Sleep talking, also known as Somniloquy, is a sleep condition whereby someone talks in their sleep unaware. It can be quite embarrassing if you co-share a bed with someone since you are not aware of what you said. You might have broken your top secrets or said something that might have offended your partner.
Talking in your sleep can also manifest as loud screams, unclear murmurs, or clear short words. It doesn’t last long; usually 20-30 seconds. However, some individuals prolong talking in their sleep especially if they are suffering from other sleeping disorders. Other people have more than one episode of sleep talking per night.
Who Suffers From Sleep Talking?
Nearly 50% of children experience sleep talking in their younger age. However, this condition disappears as they grow up. Up to 1 % of adults still sleep talk, most of them carrying on from their childhood while others develop the conditions as adults. Most of the people who sleep talk usually take on with conversations they had just before falling asleep.
What Causes People to Talk in Their Sleep?
Sleep talking occurs during both the REM and non-REM phases of sleep. The REM stage is the stage we dream during our sleep. Usually, at this dreaming stage, our vocal cords are inactive. However, the mouth and vocals are briefly activated due to ‘motor breakthrough’ leading to the speech during sleep. A person who in such a situation talks reflects from the dream.
An individual may also tend to speak in his sleep while transitioning from one stage to another. At this moment, they tend to be half awake and doesn’t make much sense in their speech. Sleep talking is however not regarded as a medical condition. It is a result of some abnormal behavior that occurs while you sleep.
Hereditary or Genetic Factors
Sleep talking may pass from one generation to another. However, it is not entirely inherited, meaning if your grandmother suffered from sleep talking it doesn’t mean all her children and generations to come will have to deal with sleep talking. If your night monologues are a result of genetic factors, nothing much that can be done to stop it.
Repeated exposure to stressful conditions may lead to episodes of sleep talking. It may be as a result of distracting words you have suffered in the past or a depressing conversation you have had. We all know that what we think or talk about more often, sometimes reflect in our dreams. Depending on the intensity of the stress you are going through you may speak in your sleep in both REM or non-REM phases of your sleep. However, it stops once you eliminate the stressing factor.
Underlying psychological conditions may bring about sleep talking in individuals. However, this depends on the type of condition. Some of these disorders lead to recurrence of sleep talking periods. If you don’t control mental ailments causing sleep talking, it is challenging to stop speaking in your sleep.
Drugs stimulate the central nervous system and alter the natural functions of transmitters. Prolonged use of narcotics may lead to chatting in your sleep. People depending on drugs tend to be hyperactive i.e. they talk more, think more, and act more. Sleep talking results from brain dysfunction altering the normal sleeping behavior. Withdrawal from drugs may not necessarily stop sleep talking among people since there is a tendency of developing permanent conditions.
Similar to substance abuse, some medicine may alter your normal brain functions leading to abnormal sleeping behavior. However, there is less occurrence of sleep talking after treatment period elapses.
Is Sleep Talking Manageable?
Sleep talking as we learned earlier does not require medical treatment unless your partner is constantly bothered. If you started sleep talking in your adulthood, it might be important to seek medical advice. More so if talking in your sleep is associated with tension or intense fear. It is also advisable to discuss with a sleep therapist to evaluate the cause and advice appropriately.
A Visit To The Doctor
Your physician may ask you questions like how long you’ve been sleep talking. Your partner or parents will have the best answer to this since you can’t tell when and how long you’ve been talking in your sleep. He may also want to know about your sleeping patterns; whether you work at night, how long your sleep lasts, or whether you have a specific waking up time etc.
He may also want to know if you were dealing with some stress such as grief, loss of a job, unmet deadlines and goals, and the likes. It is, therefore, important to talk to your physician exhaustively so as to rule out any triggering factor to speaking in your sleep.
Your doctor may advise you to familiarize yourself with sleep and mental disorders that lead to sleep talking. It’s, therefore, important to study more about these conditions. Remember to look out for any symptom that might arise from your night monologues.
How To Stop Talking In My Sleep
A Healthy Lifestyle
Adults dealing with sleep talking that started in their adulthood may need to change a few factors that are relevant to managing sleep talking. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and enough sleep often play a tremendous role in stopping your acquired condition.
As much as we cannot avoid stress in our day to day life, it is possible to deal with the stress factors as soon as they occur. Positive energy is essential in dealing with stressful conditions. Managing your time ensures you meet deadlines, hit your goals, and avoid external pressure at your workplace. It is also important to rest and relax; spending some time alone or probably going on a vacation to reset your mind.
Adjusting Sleeping Behavior
To maintain healthy sleeping habits practice the following:
- First of all, make your sleeping environment comfortable. Change worn out beddings and always keep them clean
- Stop eating meals just before your sleeping time
- Avoid caffeinated beverages or alcoholic drinks at night
- Practice relaxing activities before bed e.g. Yoga or listening to relaxing music
- Talk to your partner to sooth you in case you talk in your sleep
- Create a sleeping schedule where you record sleep and wake up time every day
- Accept the vice
Most of the sleep talkers, especially those who faced it from childhood, may not have many options to dealing with it. However, it’s important to accept that. It is also good to understand that this is not a medical condition that is going to take you to the grave! It should not be something to be ashamed of since you have minimal or no control over it. Embrace it and face it with positivity.
The Bottom Line
I hope the above information has enlightened you on this question; why do we talk in our sleep? It’s a good idea to understand yourself better. Some suggestions may not work out for you as they would for someone else. I encourage you to learn more about yourself by interacting with friends and family to discover attributes about yourself you didn’t know.