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Sleep Talking: What's There To Say?

Sleep talking is something most people do from time to time. Most of us occasionally grunt or exclaim a few words during the night, mostly words that no one can make out. Researchers of sleep are not completely aware of what causes the phenomenon, but in some cases, it is the result of an especially vivid dream. More often, however, sleep talking is connected to stress, for example due to work, family or relationship issues.

Many people suffer from some sort of sleep disturbance: snoring, nightmares, night sweats, interrupted sleep, teeth grinding, and sleep walking are just a few of them. It can be annoying to share a bed with someone who frequently experiences these disturbances during the night, and embarrassing for the person with the problem.

When you are sleep talking, it is most probably a reflection of the brain processes that occur while you sleep. It can be described as a form of automatic behavior that is caused by input from the waking life. Although it is most frequent in children, sleep talking can happen at any point in your life.

During deep sleep the body most commonly gets “shut down” and we are prevented from moving around. This is a form of biological protection that makes us safe while we sleep. Talking is also not possible most of the time during sleep. Once in a while, however, something goes through the blockage and we can move and talk. This is the cause of abnormal nighttime behavior and some sleep disturbances.

Although it can be the result of a dream, this is, according to researchers, not true in most cases. Sleep talking rarely occurs during the REM stage of a sleep cycle, which is when we dream. It is during the first three of four stages that people speak without being aware of it.


Sleep talking can occur during any stage of sleep. The lighter the sleep, the more intelligible the speech: in stages 1 and 2, people may have entire conversations, while in stages 3 and 4, the speech is often grumbled and unintelligible or nonsensical. This makes sense, as the body’s ability to move and speak gradually is lowered during the night, makes it almost completely impossible to sleep talk when in your deepest sleep.


 Most people that talk in their sleep do not see it as a huge issue. Many people know that when they do it, it is connected to a certain issue or stressful situation in their life. In most cases there are no common, underlying health issues behind sleep talking, as mentioned before, even the healthiest people talk in their sleep.

sleep talkingThe biggest issue is often a sleep talker’s partner’s sleep that is interrupted; it can be incredibly annoying (and sometimes a bit unsettling) to listen to the person next to you utter loud yells, incomprehensible words or full, meaningless sentences.

Being woken up night after night, by someone telling you that you are talking in your sleep, or waking up with a jolt because the person next to you is talking in their sleep, can seriously lower the quality of your sleep.

Most people today do not get enough sleep in the first place; if you are one of these people, also frequently, being disturbed in your sleep can be a serious issue.

There is no direct treatment for sleep talking, but there are ways to make sure that you sleep better and more deeply, which may alleviate the problem. It is recommended that people with abnormal night time behavior do not take sleeping medication, as this can lead to even more disturbed sleep.

Things that can be tried include:
  • Improve sleeping patterns.
If you do not get enough sleep or go to bed too late, it may cause you to talk in your sleep more often. Ideally you should go to bed around 10 pm and wake up next morning without an alarm clock, feeling well rested and restored.
  • Reduce your stress.
If you are talking in your sleep due to underlying stress issues, you should try to solve them as soon as possible. Stress is never a good thing, and can lead to serious health issues.
  • All natural remedies.
There are several herbal supplements available that can improve the quality of your sleep. Some natural sleep remedies can also help alleviate stress, which may fix the problem
  • Other remedies for better sleep.
sleep talking There are pillows, mattresses, methods to relax and many other remedies available that claim to be able to make you sleep better. If you think you do not sleep deeply enough, you can try to find out what works for you.

As mentioned earlier, sleep talking can in rare cases be caused by serious illnesses such as mental diseases.

If the symptoms below occur along with your sleep talking or if it is very severe and occurs of a long period of time, it may be advisable to see a specialist.

  • Sleep walking
  • Nightmares, sleep terrors
  • Sleep Terrors
  • Sleepwalking
  • Confusional Arousals
These symptoms can be a sign of more serious sleep disorders. Some of these include:

  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, a condition that completely removes the blockage of motor skills that occur during deep sleep (especially REM sleep), resulting in often violent movements, yells and general abnormal sleep behavior;
  • Psychiatric Disorders
  • Nocturnal Seizures

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