Sleeptalking or somniloquy is the utterance of speech or sounds during sleep without awareness of the event.
A listener may or may not be able to understand what you are saying.
It may also be a characteristic of another sleep disorder, such as one of the following:
- REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD)
- Sleep terrors
- Sleep related eating disorder (SRED)
Sleeptalking may occur in any stage of NREM sleep or REM sleep. It is still unknown if the talking is closely linked to dreaming. Sleeptalking that is related to RBD or sleep terrors is much more impressive.
As a part of RBD, sleeptalking may be loud, emotional, and profane. Talking during sleep terrors tends to involve intense fear with screaming and shouting. Talking in your sleep is very common. It is reported in 50% of young children. About 5% of adults are reported the problem of sleeptalking.
Sleeptalking occurs at the same rate in both men and women. It also appears to run in families. People who begin talking in their sleep as adults sometimes have mental problems as well. But most cases are not related to any mental disorder.
What Are The Symptoms Of Sleeptalking?
- Sleep talking can be associated with medical disorders such as fever
- Episodes are not associated with awareness of talking
- Polysomnography (sleep recording) shows episodes of sleeptalking that can occur in any stage of sleep
- Speech or utterances during sleep
- Sleeptalking can be associated with psychiatric disorders such as anxiety disorders
- Sleep talking can be associated with other sleep disorders such as sleepwalking, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, or REM sleep behavior disorder
How Sleeptalking Can Be Diagnosed?
You will rarely be conscious of sleeptalking in your own sleep. You will need a bed partner or someone else who hears you to tell you about it. Sometimes things that cause other sleep problems can also bring out sleeptalking. It may be a result of one of the following:
- A medical condition
- Medication use
- A mental health disorder
- Substance abuse
- Another sleep disorder
When Should A Sleeptalking Person Consult A Specialist?
Sleeptalking is very common and tends to be harmless. If your talking is dramatic, emotional, or rude, then it may be a sign of another sleep disorder. A sleep specialist can also help if your sleeptalking severely hurts the quality of sleep for you or a bed partner.
The doctor will need to know how long you have been talking in your sleep. Get information from those who sleep with you or have seen you sleep. This includes spouses, relatives, friends, teammates, roommates, etc.
You will also need to provide a total medical history. Be sure to inform the doctor of any past or present drug and medication use. Also tell him if you have ever had any other sleep disorder.
Maintain a sleep diary. The sleep diary will help the doctor see your sleeping patterns. This information gives the doctor clue about what is causing your problem and how to correct it.
No tests are needed to identify sleeptalking. A sleep specialist may give you a written test to analyze your mental and emotional health. Other tests may be used if he suspects that you have another sleep disorder.
Why do some people talk in their sleep?
The exact reason for sleeptalking is not known. Children seem to be prone to it, especially if they sleepwalk too. Some people carry on whole conversations, while others just mutter and make other sounds.
If the frequency of sleeptalking is bothering the family and disrupting sleep for others, there are some things you can keep in mind.
- Reduce the strain and nervousness
- Keep to a regular schedule of going to bed and getting up at the same time
- Don't eat a heavy meal right before bedtime
- If the incident occurs, make sure the sleep talker is safe and gently soothe them
- Make sure the sleep talker gets plenty of sleep every night, someone who is sleep deprived is more likely to sleep talk.