Somniloquia: why do we talk in our sleep?
Many people unconsciously talk while they sleep. Talking while sleeping is generally considered a harmless behavioral problem. But why do we talk, mumble or scream in our sleep and what is the cause and meaning behind it? Find out here what the nocturnal flow of words is all about and what you can do to sleep more peacefully again.
Table of Contents
- The unconscious speaking during sleep
- Why do we talk in our sleep?
- What is the meaning of words in sleep?
- Is talking while sleeping harmful?
- This helps against speaking while sleeping
1. The unconscious speaking during sleep
Snoring, talking, grinding your teeth or sleepwalking - that we behave unusually at night is probably more common than we think. One of these unusual phenomena, the occurrence of which we are usually not even aware of, is talking in our sleep.
The so-called somniloquia describes the unconscious behavior of talking and pronouncing sounds, words or sentences during sleep. This behavior, which manifests itself in various forms from making unintelligible sounds to uttering entire conversations, is particularly common in childhood. After all, between the ages of 2 and 10 almost 50% of children speak during their sleep. But even in adulthood, almost 5% of people are still affected.
Somniloquia is generally referred to as a sleep disorder, but it is actually not a real illness, but rather a largely harmless behavior. Talking during sleep is usually not noticed by those affected and has little effect on the quality of their sleep. Conversations at night usually only become a problem when they disturb the sleep of the bed and room neighbors in a similar way to noise or loud snoring.
2. Why do we talk in our sleep?
Our sleep consists of several sleep phases in which our brain is differently active. You can read ➥ here what exactly happens during sleep. Nocturnal conversations can occur in any sleep phase, but they often take place in REM phases - i.e. exactly when we are dreaming.
Scientific studies show that the content of what is said often corresponds to what is happening in the dreams that are experienced at the same time. This allows the assumption that the unconscious speech could be related to the visual processing of everyday events and information. The exact cause or the triggers for the occurrence of somniloquia is not yet known, even in research.
By the way: In close family circles, several people are often affected. It is therefore assumed that speaking during sleep is heritable.
3. What meaning do the words have in sleep?
Most utterances during sleep are incomprehensible to others and no more than slurred murmurs, laughter, screams, or short snatches 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 the muscles that are needed for articulation and speech. Conversations during sleep are not always understandable. However, some people still manage to articulate whole words and sentences. Don't worry! Even if we express ourselves clearly in our sleep, what is said is usually meaningless or dream-related, so you don't usually have to be afraid of unknowingly chatting about secrets or private matters.
4. Is talking while sleeping harmful?
In principle, unconscious talking during sleep is one of the harmless behavioral disorders. These may be annoying for those affected, but harmless. Depending on the severity, the occurrence of somniloquia can, however, disturb the sleep of the partner or roommate, in that they are repeatedly awakened by the emitted acoustic stimuli and prevent them from restoratively sleeping through the night.
5. This helps against speaking during sleep
As long as you are healthy, do not suffer from other sleep disorders, increased mental stress or increased stress and do not disturb anyone else by speaking during their sleep, it is usually not absolutely necessary to take action against somniloquia. However, if talking in your sleep disturbs your bed partner or you still feel uncomfortable, these two tips can help.
» Good sleep hygiene
Good sleep hygiene helps improve sleep and prevent unusual behavior. For example, a regular sleep-wake cycle, the right sleeping environment and avoiding heavy meals, alcohol and caffeine- or nicotine-containing foods and luxury foods before going to bed are important. You can find more information about proper sleep hygiene in ➥ this article.
» relaxation exercises
Sufficient relaxation before bedtime can reduce the frequency of sleep talk and promote healthy, restful sleep. Various techniques such as Qi-Gong, yoga or autogenic training support deep relaxation and balance and have already proven to be useful for some people to prevent them from talking too much during their sleep. We have already presented some relaxation techniques and herbal tranquilizers on our blog.
Somniloquie refers to the unconscious behavior of talking and uttering sounds, words or sentences during sleep.
Unconscious talking during sleep is harmless, but is usually perceived as annoying by those affected or their partners.
The cause of the occurrence of somniloquia is not scientifically known, but as with dreams, it could be due to the processing of information and experiences.
Good sleep hygiene and targeted relaxation before going to bed can reduce the frequency of sleep talking.
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