Somniloquy: why do we talk in our sleep?

Many people talk unconsciously during sleep. Talking during sleep is basically considered a harmless behavioral disorder. But why do we talk, mumble or shout in our sleep and what is the cause and meaning behind it? Find out here what it is about nocturnal speech flows and what you can do to sleep more peacefully again.

Table of contents

      1. The unconscious speaking in sleep
      2. Why do we speak in our sleep?
      3. What is the importance of words in sleep?
      4. Is talking in sleep harmful?
      5. This helps against talking in sleep
      6. Conclusion

        The unconscious speaking in sleep

        Snoring, talking, grinding our teeth or sleepwalking - that we behave unusually during the night is probably more common than we think. One of these unusual phenomena, whose occurrence we usually do not even notice ourselves, is talking in our sleep.

        The so-called somniloquy refers to the unconscious behaviour of talking during sleep and uttering sounds, words or sentences. This behavior is especially common in childhood, and can take various forms from making unintelligible sounds to speaking out entire conversations. Between the ages of 2 and 10, almost 50% of children speak during sleep. But even in adulthood, nearly 5% of people are still affected.

        Somniloquy is basically called a sleep disorder, but it is not actually a real disease, but a largely harmless behavior. Talking in their sleep is usually not even noticed by sufferers and has little effect on the quality of their sleep. Talking during the night usually only becomes a problem when it disturbs the sleep of those in the bed and in the room, in a similar way to noise or loud snoring.

        Why do we talk in our sleep?

        Our sleep occurs in several sleep phases in which our brain is active in different ways. You can read about what exactly happens during sleep ➥ here. Nocturnal conversations can occur in any sleep phase, but conspicuously often take place in REM phases - that is, exactly when we are dreaming.

        Überblick: Der Schlafzyklus und die unterschiedlichen Schlafphasen

        Scientific research shows that the content of what is being talked about often matches what is happening in the dreams we are experiencing at the same time. This suggests that unconscious speech may be related to the visual processing of everyday events and information. However, the exact cause or what triggers the occurrence of somniloquy is not yet known, even in research.

        Incidentally, in close family circles, several people are often affected. It is therefore assumed that speaking in sleep is hereditary.

        What is the meaning of words during sleep?

        Most utterances during sleep are rather incomprehensible to others and no more than indistinct mumbling, laughing, shouting or short fragments of words and sounds. The sleep paralysis that occurs in the REM phase paralyzes the muscles and naturally prevents our body from reacting motorically to the dream event. This also affects those muscles that are needed for articulation and speech. Conversations during sleep are therefore not always intelligible. However, some people still manage to articulate whole words and sentences. But don't worry! Even if we express ourselves intelligibly during sleep, what is said is usually meaningless or dream-related, so you usually don't have to worry about unconsciously chatting about secrets or private matters.

        Is talking while asleep harmful?

        Basically, unconscious talking during sleep is one of the harmless behavioral disorders. It may be disturbing for those affected, but it is harmless. Depending on the severity, however, the occurrence of a somniloquy can disturb the sleep of the partner or room neighbour, as the latter is repeatedly woken up by the acoustic stimuli emitted and prevented from sleeping soundly.

        This helps against talking in your sleep

        Entspannung, Ausgeglichenheit und gute Schlafhygiene

        As long as you are healthy, do not suffer from other sleep disorders, increased mental stress or increased stress and do not affect anyone else by talking in your sleep, it is usually not absolutely necessary to take action against a somniloquy. However, if talking in your sleep is bothering your bed partner or you're still uncomfortable, these two tips can help.

        "Good sleep hygiene

        Good sleep hygiene helps improve sleep and prevent unusual behavior. For example, it's important to have a regular sleep-wake cycle, the right sleeping environment, and to avoid heavy meals, alcohol, and foods and stimulants containing caffeine or nicotine before bedtime. For more information on proper sleep hygiene, check out ➥ this article.

        "Relaxation exercises

        Adequate relaxation before bedtime can reduce the frequency of talking during sleep and promote healthy, restful sleep. Various techniques such as qigong, yoga or autogenic training support deep relaxation and balance and have already proven to be a useful aid against frequent talking in sleep for some people. On our blog, we have already presented some relaxation techniques and herbal sedatives.


        • Somniloquy refers to the unconscious behavior of talking during sleep and uttering sounds, words or phrases.

        • Unconscious talking during sleep is harmless, but is usually found disturbing by sufferers or partners.
        • The cause for the occurrence of a somniloquy is not scientifically known, but as with dreaming, it could lie in the processing of information and experiences.
        • Good sleep hygiene and targeted relaxation before going to bed can reduce the frequency of talking during sleep.

        Best regards and see you soon!

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