Interestingly, every individual experiences an episode of sleep speaking once or twice in their lifetimes, making it a prevalent abnormality. In this article, we’ve compiled other facts about sleep talking, but let’s first find out the meaning of sleep talking.
What is Sleep Talking?
Sleep talking, which is technically known as somniloquy, is a kind of parasomnia (abnormal behaviours that occur during sleep). It is a disorder that involves the act of talking while sleeping without being conscious of it.
During sleep talking episodes, you can utter complicated dialogues, monologues, or even complete gibberish. It is important to note that sleep talking can occur during any part of the sleep cycle, unlike most parasomnias. This means it can occur during either Non-REM (non-rapid eye movement) or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
Other parasomnias usually happen at a specific stage of the sleep cycle. Furthermore, sleep talking is distinct from other sleep anomalies that involve vocalisation, such as REM sleep disorder (in which individuals physically act out their dreams) or Catathreina (a disorder that causes groaning while sleeping).
Facts You Should Know About Sleep Talking
1. Studies have shown that about half of recorded sleep talking is usually incomprehensible. Here, sleep talking typically involved silent speech, mumbling, and other incomprehensible forms of speaking.
2. Where sleep talking is understandable, it usually has a good number of parallels to regular conversations. It often appeared that the individual sleep talking was speaking to another person due to pauses and responses.
3, Usually, sleep talking episodes are short, only involving very few sentences or words. Very rarely do sleep talking episodes involve lengthy conversations.
4. Sleep talking occurs more commonly in children. A little over half of all children between 3 and 10 have conversations in their sleep. A poll carried out in 2004 showed that more than 1 in 10 children sleep talk multiple nights in a week. The percentage of adults that sleep talk is put around 5%.
5. Most of the utterances recorded during sleep are usually very expressive, profane, or negative, which indicates that sleep talking may usually reflect conflict-driven conversations occurring in the brain.
6. Typically, there is no recollection of sleep talking episodes when people wake up. Therefore, you would no know if you just confessed all your sexual escapades while asleep.
7. It appears as though sleep talking is more prevalent in individuals with mental health conditions. Particularly, the phenomenon is believed to happen more frequently in individuals who have suffered PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
8. One of the good news about sleep talking is that it is generally considered harmless. It usually does not have a severe effect on an individual's sleep, and since it doesn't occur so frequently, there are few chances of it causing any serious problems.
9. There are times where sleep talking can be connected to more severe and more considerable sleeping difficulties that can result in insufficient sleep. This is usually the case where sleep talking occurs alongside other sleep anomalies such as sleepwalking or nightmares.
10. Sleep talking can affect a bed partner such that it can lead to insomnia and daytime sleepiness. This is because a bed partner will usually have an interrupted sleep where the other partner sleeps and talks.
11. There is still no consensus or detailed research on the exact cause of sleep talking.
Ways to Put an End to Sleep Talking
Due to the fact that the cause of sleep talking is not well understood, ways to end the phenomenon also suffer limitations. This makes sense because it is challenging to proffer solutions for what has not been fully understood.
For this reason, generally speaking, sleep talking does not have a treatment. Moreover, the fact that it’s not a frequent event and has almost no negative impact, it’s pretty safe not to be bothered with a treatment for the phenomenon.
However, for people who still want to try and limit or terminate episodes of sleep talking, a good place to start will be incorporating proper sleep hygiene. The science says that most sleep abnormalities result from a state that allows an overlap between sleep and periods of wakefulness, which occur primarily due to disruptions to sleep patterns.
Therefore, a commitment to steps that promote and guarantee consistent and quality sleep is bound to be very profitable for parasomnias, even sleep talking. The quality of sleep of an individual is affected by the quality of the individual’s sleep hygiene. Therefore, improving your sleep hygiene is bound to improve your quality of sleep.
Some of the significant ways to improve sleep hygiene include:
1. Maintain a consistent sleep schedule every day, even on weekends.
2. Don’t consume caffeine or other stimulants in the late afternoon or evening.
3. Before you head to bed, take a half-hour to relax and wind down, including dimming lights and removing electronic devices.
4. Get exposure to daylight every day, and finding time for physical activity during the day.
5. Your sleep environment should be free of light or sound pollution, so everyone is not distracted.
6. Ensure your sleeping surface is comfortable and supportive with quality mattress, pillows, and beddings.
In the case that an individual is so bothered by sleep talking, such that it is creating other sleep difficulties like drowsiness during the day and outright lack of sleep, a visit to a healthcare expert is recommended.