Sleep Talking: What You Need to Know

Updated on November 19, 2018

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So, you just retired into bed after a long day’s work. In the wee hours of the night when enjoying your sleep, you are interrupted by a talking sound. You turn on the side to listen only to find out it’s your spouse or significant other talking.

This may baffle you if you never, in the past, come across someone speaking in their sleep. You have no reason to worry as it is a sleep disorder that involves the victim talking in their sleep without being aware. Commonly referred to as sleep talking, it is a condition that occurs in both sexes and cuts across all ages. It is said to be more common in children. However, an estimated 5% of adults talk in their sleep too. Sleep talkers could talk in loud sounds or whispers. They appear to be talking to themselves most of the time.

Sometimes, they also tend to be participating in a conversation. Whatever it is they mumble, sleep talkers don’t last long in sleep talking. Scientifically, this condition is referred to as somniloquy. Sleep talking occurs at any stage of sleep. At REM stage of sleep, a sleep talker may be able to comprehend what they are talking about. At the third and fourth stage of sleep, referred to as N-REM, their talking could be a mere gabber. In all these stages, sleep talkers don’t understand what they are talking about

Causal factors of sleep talking

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Sleep talking arises from a range of causal factors that border on lifestyle and heredity. Some of them are:

  • Depression
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Alcohol consumption
  • High fever

Heredity could also contribute to sleep talking. It is known to occur in some families. External factors also contribute to its continued occurrence.


If your partner is the sleep talking type, you need not worry about treatment as sleep talking can be very well-managed. You may want to see a doctor only in severe cases. Severe cases occur when the sleep talking is accompanied by night terrors, nocturnal seizures and physical fear. You may want to see a doctor if your partner’s sleep is a cause for disturbance or irritation to other members in the family. To control sleep talking in your partner, you can help them do the following:

Reduce caffeine content

Excessive consumption of caffeine content beforebedtime leads to disturbed sleep. This could contribute to sleep talking because of the stimuli effect it leaves on your body. You want to reduce caffeinated drinks before going to bed. Avoid eating heavily at night. Heavy eating interferes with your sleep pattern. This is because your body could produce acids that are not sleep friendly.

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Manage your stress levels

When pushed out of your comfort zone, your brain hasa way of reacting to the impending threat, pressure or the demand at hand. This response is automatic and the body is naturally wired to take flight or fight back. Failing to manage your stress levels could lead to more sleep-talking at night.

Whether the source of your stress is job-related or stemming from your relationship, learn to manage it accordingly to avoid it spilling over into your sleep. Some ways to manage stress include doing physical exercises or reading a book. You could make exercise a routine habit early in the morning or afternoon.  Avoid exercising when it is approaching bedtime.

Have a consistent sleep schedule

Watch your sleep pattern to know your wake time and sleep time. This is important to enable you to maintain a consistent sleep pattern. Having a consistent sleep pattern of not less than 8 hours daily will help you avoid unnecessary fatigue and cut down on stress levels. Less sleep could impact on your overall health. Adults deprive themselves of sleep if they get less than seven hours of sleep. You want to have quality sleep to help you manage your sleep talk.

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Practice general sleep hygiene

General sleep hygiene involves the habits and norms that control your sleep life. Good sleep hygiene supports your efforts in managing sleep talk. Your sleep environment has to be conducive for a quality sleep. Factors to watch in your sleep environment include:

  • Temperature: Should be less than the room temperature
  • Lighting: Dim lighting is the most ideal; you could also use dark curtains with no reflection effects
  • Humidity: Use humidifiers to keep your bedroom environment moist.
  • Your beddings

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It is important to ensure that the place you sleep for the next eight hours can sufficiently accommodate and make comfortable your body. Your bed has to be large enough to provide enough turning space for your spouse and you. The mattress you use has to be compact and firm enough to accommodate your body weights. That’s why you should you should consider purchasing a Tempurpedic mattress. It has a long life span, relieves of you any pain and meets your overall sleep needs.

If your spouse is the one sleep talking, you could also put in place some measures to cushion yourself against the irritation. You want to invest in a white noise app that can help to mask other voices round. Earplugs can also be used for the same purpose. While this may turn out to be selfish, you are creating a conducive environment that can accommodate both of your sleeping needs.


Sleep talking is a common sleep disorder that makes someone to talk in their sleep. Also known as somniloquy, it is more common in children than adults. About 5% of adults move with the condition from their childhood. Sleep talkers could talk or mumble but they have no idea of what they are talking about. The disorder is caused by unhealthy lifestyle habits and genetic factors. If you have a family member suffering from a sleep talking disorder, you have no reason to worry as it can be managed by practising good sleep hygiene habits. Couples should be supportive of their sleep talking partners and also protect themselves against their spouse’s irritation. Now you know.


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