Sleep Science • Article

Why Do People Talk in Their Sleep?

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Sleep talking is common, especially for young kids. What's going on, and is it cause for concern?


Sleep talking is a common occurrence. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, about 50 percent of young children talk in their sleep. In adults, the rate is about 5 percent. Sleep talking occurs equally in men and women, and also appears to run in families.


Other than the fact that sleep talking might disturb your sleep partner, there is usually little cause for concern. But just why do people talk in their sleep? The experts at Sleep Number explain.


How Do You Define Sleep Talking?

The medical term for talking in your sleep is somniloquy. It's considered a sleep disorder that can occur during the shift between stages of sleep, such as between wakefulness and sleep, or light sleep and REM sleep, which occurs during the night and is accompanied by rapid eye movements, more dreaming, and bodily movements such as twitching.


What Is The Cause Of Sleep Talking?

The real reason is a mystery, but the most common culprits are stress, anxiety, illness and fever, and a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea. Most people don't know they talk in their sleep.


Who Is More Likely To Talk In Their Sleep?

This generally benign condition is more likely to affect those under the age of 25, and in children, is often accompanied by other sleep issues, such as sleep terrors.


What Do People Say When They Talk In Their Sleep?

Sleep talking can be anything from undefined sounds to complete sentences, even humming or singing. It usually lasts no more than 30 seconds per episode, though some people might have repeated episodes throughout the night.


Is There Any Way To Stop Talking In Your Sleep?

Because sleep talking tends to be episodic and benign, there is not a lot of research on either causes or treatment. But reducing stress before bedtime with light activities such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, or progressive muscle relaxation may help lower the possibility of its occurrence.


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