Have you ever been accused by someone who has seen you sleep that during the night you being to have conversations with yourself? If so, this does not mean that they are crazy or that you are crazy. It means that you talk during sleep. If this is the case then there is no need to alarm yourself as this is a pretty common occurrence. It is most prevalent in children as 50% of them at one point or another talk in their sleep. It is found in adults as well – roughly 5% of them sleep talk and it affects both men and women equally.
How Does It Manifest?
Even if you have such a problem, it is not a really big deal. The only times when this can be an issue is if you start to bother the ones around you when you sleep. This is particularly true for people that sleep next to someone else. In these cases sleep talking can eventually decrease the quality and quantity of sleeping time for your partner and eventually for you. There is no strict way that sleep talking manifests itself. It can range from some indistinct whispering to shouting out profanities. Your words can be complete nonsense or you can be as eloquent as if you were reciting Shakespeare. Just as long as it is not too loud or too vulgar you should be alright.
As far as studies have shown, there is no pattern to sleep talking. It can manifest itself in all stages of REM and NREM sleeping cycles. Neither has it been proven if there is any sort of connection between dreaming and sleep talking.
Who Talks in Their Sleep?
Most of the times sleep talking is harmless. It is an action brought forth by a few factors. One of them is stress. If you are having problems with sleep talking then try and avoid going to bed stressed out or just try and eliminate the situations that are making you nervous from your life altogether. Other times it can be cause by erratic sleeping habits. If you are sleep deprived then there is a good chance that that is the main reason for your somniloquy (talking in your sleep). Try to get plenty of sleep every night and also maintain a strict sleeping schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same hours. In some cases it has been shown that eating a heavy meal right before bed can also lead to sleep talking. If you see or hear someone that is talking in his sleep try to comfort and soothe the person. If he is calm and relaxed he is more likely to go in a deep sleep and not talk anymore.
However, other times sleep talking can be more serious as it can manifest as a symptom of other sleeping disorders. Two of the more common ones are sleep terrors and REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD). People who suffer from these will usually not only talk in their sleep, but they will scream with fear, thrash around and kick. It is hard to wake someone up from a night terror so these people should be monitored closely.
Other people that talk in their sleep are also sleep walkers. These two conditions can even work in conjunction with another one named nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder (NS-RED) which causes the suffered to eat in his sleep. In other cases, sleep talking can be brought on by a high fever, taking certain medications, abusing substances or mental health disorder.
How Can You Stop?
Like mentioned before, if the sleep talking does not interfere with your sleep or anyone else’s then there is no need for concern. On the other hand, if your late night monologues are keeping people awake you might want to getting used to sleeping alone. In these cases you might want to check in with a sleep specialist. Obviously, it you are a parent whose child is exhibiting the symptoms of somniloquy then you should consult an expert.
If the situation is more serious than that and it involves screaming, punching, kicking etc. then it can be a symptom of another sleep disorder and a medic should be consulted as soon as possible. Even though there is no way to test for somniloquy there are ways like a sleep study or a polysomnogram which can be used to determine if the talking is resulting from a more serious medical condition.
The first thing you will need to know when you are seeking professional help is how long you have been talking in your sleep. Since you are not conscious when you talk it is impossible for you to know so you will have to ask your wife, partner, roommate, parents etc. If you are talking like a tenor in your sleep you can even ask your neighbor. You could probably tell if you have been keeping him up at nights by the expression on his face when you ask if you are loud during bedtime.
Furthermore, provide the doctor with your complete medical history. Now is not the time to get shy. He needs to know about all your past medications as well as substance abuse as these are common causes of sleep talking. Maintain a sleep diary for a week or so and thoroughly document when you go to bed and when you wake up and how many times you have talked during the night. You will need some help from your sleeping partner to determine this, but it will provide valuable information to the doctor on your sleeping patterns and also give him ideas on how to treat it.
There is no guaranteed way to stop people from talking in their sleep. If the condition is not related to any other sleeping disorder then getting plenty of rest every night and avoiding stressful situations can be your best bet towards preventing you from spouting random gibberish. There will be plenty of time for you to talk without making sense when you are awake. Your best bet is to pay close attention to your sleep diary. That will tell you the reason why you are sleep talking. If you maintain it for a long enough period of time and you are accurate it should help establish a pattern of your daily routine. After that you can isolate the reason for your condition and eventually eliminate it or at least diminish its effects on your person.
Other than the times when you go to bed and when you wake up, there are a few other moments in your day that you should pay attention. Note the time when you exercise and for how long and notice all of the caffeinated drinks that you have over the day like coffee and energy drinks. Also pay attention to your alcohol consumption. Medications that you might be using can also affect your sleep so note those down as well.
As long as you are not cursing like a sailor or singing like a soprano there is no need for concern. If you sleep alone, then you will not know about it anyway. If you sleep with someone else, they should be able to adjust pretty quickly if it is not to obnoxious. Other than that, keeping a sleep diary is your best bet towards stopping your sleep talking.