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Sleep Talking: What Causes Talking in Your Sleep?


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December 22, 2022

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While sleeping, we experience many unusual things such as body movement, weird dreams, sleepwalking, acting the dreams, and the list goes on. Sleep talking is one of the most common activities many of us regularly experience while we sleep. Today, our detailed article will help you get complete insights into this unusual but natural sleep phenomenon. 

What Is Sleep Talking?

Sleep talking is classified under the category of parasomnia. A person is said to be a parasomniac if they display abnormal behavior during sleep. Usually, most parasomnia activities occur during specific periods of the sleep cycle. Sleep talking is unique and can occur during any sleep cycle that includes both REM and Non-REM cycles.

Many people confuse sleep talking with Nocturnal Groaning, which is entirely different from sleep talking. Catathrenia or Nocturnal Groaning is a breathing disorder while sleep talking may involve dialogues, monologues, or mumbling.

Symptoms of Sleep Talking: Why Do People Talk in Their Sleep?

Sleep talking is also known as “somniloquy.” It is characterized as speaking during sleep being unaware of it. Unlike other abnormal behaviors, sleep talking can occur during any stage of sleep. Although, it most likely happens during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Sleep talking with eyes open is also a common feature in many sleepers. You may produce gibberish sounds during deeper sleep stages such as NREM sleep, stage three, and stage four sleep. Your partner may hear sounds of mumbles, calling out, moans, whispering, dialogues, or monologues as well. There is no meaning to any of these sounds by the sleeper.

Sleep talking or somniloquy can occur in anyone; primarily, men and children talking in sleep are found to be more vulnerable. According to research, only five percent of adults experience sleep talking. The most common factors in sleep talking include alcohol, drugs, fever, stress, anxiety, and depression. 

What does Research Say About Sleep Talking?

National Library of Medicine researched one thousand randomly selected adults, including around 51 % women, aged 18years and above, through a telephone interview in Norway. The results were surprising; about 67% of the population in the United States is affected by sleep talking disorder. Research clearly stated that sleep talking is highly widespread in the general population.

Causes of Sleep Talking

There is no clarity on why sleep talking occurs in some people and not in others, but one thing remains for sure: sleep talking is a widespread parasomnia in the United States.

According to research, sleepers with Parkinson’s disease were more likely to experience sleep talking than others. Another study shows that sleepers suffering from PSTD( Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) are more prone to sleep talking than other people.

Other health conditions such as sickness, fever, drinking alcohol, stress, depression, and insufficient sleep may also increase sleep talking.

Side Effects of Talking in Your Sleep

Generally, sleep talking is a harmless and random event. However, there may be side effects of sleep talking in some people. 

The most significant side effect is disturbing the sleep of your partner. It may lead to insufficient sleep during the night and excessive daytime sleepiness. 

Sleep talkers are usually unaware of what they speak about during sleep, which might hurt their relationships. 

Sleep talking also indicates that there might be some underlying health issues such as obstructive sleep apnea. 

Sleep Talking Treatment

The sad part is there is no specific treatment for sleep talking. However, we recommend you visit a sleep expert or a sleep center as they may help you deal with your sleep talking condition. Additionally, you may also get inspected and guided on getting the recommended amount of sleep that your body requires every night.

The best part is if your partner is bothered by your sleep talking, then going to a sleep expert might be the perfect idea as the sleep expert might help both of you get sound sleep. 

You can also try few other things to make sure that your partner is not bothered by your rigorous sleep talking; these include:

  • Sleeping in different bedrooms
  • Sleeping on different beds
  • Asking your partner to wear earplugs
  • Deploying a noise machine in your bedroom to kill out any noise occurring from sleep talking
  • Using a fan to compensate for sound

Let’s understand how to prevent sleep talking in the next section.

How to Stop Sleep Talking?

In maximum cases, the treatment of sleep talking is not required as the effects of sleep talking are not very harmful and have very minimal consequences on a person’s health. Also, there is no concrete evidence on the cause of sleep talking. Hence there is no proper knowledge on how to stop talking in your sleep. 

However, you can undoubtedly reduce sleep talking by maintaining proper sleep hygiene. Sleep talking is an abnormal state that combines alertness and sleep, and it is more likely to occur when standard sleep patterns are interrupted. Hence, getting consistent and regular sleep might be a perfect solution to stop sleep talking.

Sleep hygiene involves a person’s behavioral and sleep environmental practice developed over a while that affects sleep. Better sleep hygiene reduces any chances of being sleep deprived or sleep disruptions and leads to higher-quality sleep.

Here is a list of few things that helps you improve your sleep hygiene and also stop sleep talking:

  • Avoid drinking alcohol before bedtime
  • Reduce caffeine intake before bedtime
  • Eat light meals before sleeping
  • Reduce exposure to blue light 
  • Implement a proper sleep schedule 
  • Create a cozy bed with quality bedding
  • Perform nighttime rituals to induce your brain into sleep

However, if these lifestyle changes do not help, it is advisable to visit a sleep expert and get the proper solution to your sleep disorder.

The Final Word

Most parasomnia events occurring during sleep are a combination of alertness and the transition from in and out of sleep. It includes weird dreams, sleepwalking, sleep talking, etc. Sleep talking is a harmless condition and occurs during specific periods in your life.  You can manage it without any particular treatment, and more often than not, sleep-talking eliminates automatically. It is a temporary condition and can also reoccur after a while.

We recommend you communicate with your doctor if sleep talking is interrupting rigorously in you and your partner’s sleep.


In general, sleep talking doesn’t have any adverse effects on your health. However, sleep talking may lead to some typical health conditions such as REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), sleep terrors, and night terrors.

There is no particular evidence that determines who is at the highest risk of sleep talking. However, there is a belief that sleep talking in children is more common, and adults are less prone to it. There is no gender data as well, and it is believed that It occurs equally in both women and men.

Usually, most parasomnia activities occur during specific periods of the sleep cycle. Sleep talking is unique and can occur during any sleep cycle that includes both REM and Non-REM cycles.

In most cases, sleep talking is genetic. However, certain health conditions promote sleep talking, including Parkinson’s disease, PSTD,  sickness, fever, drinking alcohol, stress, depression, and insufficient sleep.

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