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Do you talk in your sleep? Know what it means


Sleep talking

, also known as somniloquy, is a curious phenomenon that has puzzled people for ages. Whether it’s a simple murmur or a full-blown speech, understanding what it means can shed light on our sleeping minds. Here is all you need to know about sleep talking, exploring its causes, symptoms, and potential treatments.

What is sleep talking?

Sleep talking is the act of speaking during sleep, classified as a type of parasomnia—a behaviour that occurs during sleep.

It’s a widespread occurrence, often harmless, and not typically considered a medical problem. Sleep talkers may utter anything from simple sounds to complex sentences, sometimes engaging in conversations with themselves or even unseen entities.

sleep talk (1)

Image: Canva

Who talks in their sleep?

Many individuals, regardless of age or gender, experience sleep talking. Children between 3 and 10 years old frequently engage in this behaviour, with about half of them participating in nighttime conversations. Adults, although less common, also contribute to the nighttime dialogue, with approximately 5% continuing the habit into adulthood. Sleep talking may also have a genetic component, running in families and affecting multiple generations.

What causes sleep talking?

sleep talk (2)

Image: Canva

While the exact cause of sleep talking remains unknown, it can occur during any stage of sleep and may or may not be associated with dreaming. Factors such as emotional stress, certain medications, fever, mental health disorders, and substance abuse can contribute to sleep talking. In some cases, sleep talking may be a symptom of underlying

sleep disorders

like REM sleep behaviour disorder (RBD), sleep terrors, or nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder (NS-RED).

How is sleep talking treated?

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In most cases, sleep talking requires no specific treatment. However, consulting a sleep specialist may be beneficial if sleep talking becomes disruptive or if it’s accompanied by other sleep disorders or health conditions. Keeping a sleep diary can help identify patterns and triggers, aiding in the diagnosis and management of sleep talking. Lifestyle changes such as stress reduction and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule may help minimise sleep-talking episodes. Seeking professional advice on

sleep management techniques

and alternative sleeping arrangements, like separate beds or noise-blocking devices, can alleviate disturbances caused by sleep talking.

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