Have you been told that you've been talking in your sleep recently? Do you wish that you could find a way to stop this so that you don't end up spilling your secrets? Don't worry, here are several options you can use to end your sleep talking episodes.
If you talk in your sleep, you'd probably never know unless your significant other told you. And if you're on this page, you have some unanswered questions like; what if I spill my secrets or say something embarrassing? What makes me sleep talk, and how can I stop it? But first, what is sleep talking?
What is Sleep Talking?
Sleep talking is also known as somniloquy and refers to the act of talking while you are asleep. Somniloquy is a relatively common occurrence and is not regarded as a medical condition; however, it bothers several people.
Sleep talkers don't often speak for more than thirty seconds per episode, but these episodes are not limited. Sleep talkers often talk to themselves but can sometimes hold conversations with someone else who's not asleep when given the right cues.
Most people who talk in their sleep are usually children aged ten to thirteen years and up to 66 percent of adults. A poll done in 2004 showed that more than one of every ten children talked in their sleep several times a week. Experts believe that sleep talking may be hereditary.
There are no known symptoms for sleep talking that could be discernable for you unless you are told by your friends or family that you have talked in your sleep. Sleep talking is not tied to any stage of sleep, and talking can occur in both REM and non-REM sleep.
Half of what you talk about when you're asleep is, more often than not, incomprehensible. The other half usually is mumbling, silent speech where you move your lips without uttering any sounds, groans, and, occasionally, normal speech.
So, What Are the Causes?
Researchers still haven't figured out the reason as to why people talk in their sleep. However, they have managed to slightly link some of these conditions as possible triggers for somniloquy. If you have one or more of these conditions, then the chances are that you talk in your sleep.
Sleep talking seems to run in the family. So, if you have a family member affected by the condition, then the chances are that you are also very likely to experience episodes of sleep talking.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
If you have a mental health disorder like PTSD then the chances of you talking in your sleep grow. People with PTSD tend to have nightmares while they sleep, making it hard for their conscious minds to shut themselves properly during sleep.
People with this condition tend to act out their dreams. The reason is that their sympathetic nervous system, which is supposed to control their fight or flight response, is active. The condition makes them talk or act out their reactions to what they are thinking or dreaming about at the moment.
Irregular Sleep Patterns
Research has shown that people with irregular sleep patterns don't get quality sleep more often tend to talk in their sleep. The reason why this happens is similar to people who have PTSD. Their bodies cannot regulate their sympathetic nervous system's response, making them act and talk impulsively in their sleep.
Stress and Depression
When you are asleep, Cortisol levels, also known as the stress hormone, lower during the first couple of hours of sleep, helping your body relax, thereby helping you get a full night's sleep. When you're stressed out and depressed, your body is on edge, your sympathetic nervous system is on overdrive, and your hormones are all over the place.
The condition makes it hard for your mind to figure out whether you are awake or dreaming, which sometimes evokes a physical response i.e., talking or walking.
How Can I Stop Talking in My Sleep?
Avoid Any Unnecessary Stress
It would be best to avoid any unnecessary stress and don't put too much pressure on yourself. If you have any unresolved issues that might be bothering you to the point that you don't seem to have a good night's sleep, you should see a specialist who may guide you and help you sort out these issues.
Have a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Having a consistent sleeping schedule is the best way to ensure that you get quality sleep every night. Sleeping well ensures that your body receives the time required to re-energize and refresh, leaving you ready and relaxed enough for the following day's events.
Keep a Sleep Diary
Keeping a sleep diary at your bedside will help you identify any triggers that could be activating your sleep talking episodes. You could record your sleep talking episodes through an app on your phone and write down what you said as soon as you wake up. Doing this will help narrow down on your triggers, especially if you’re depressed or have PTSD syndrome.
Limit Your Caffeine Intake and Have a Good Sleeping Hygiene
Drinking a can of caffeinated soda or coffee as you are about to go to sleep can affect your sleep pattern making it harder to sleep. Caffein is, first, a stimulant and, second, a chemical substance. It affects your brain in so many different ways, and it could be one of the reasons you may be sleep talking! It would be best if you avoid any alcoholic drinks and tobacco too.
Ensure that your bedside hygiene is also good. Ensure that your room is clean and free of any clatter and your sheets and bedcovers are clean. Sleeping in a clean, organized place can be very restful and might also help you sleep better at night and avoid any sleep-talking episodes.
Since scientists haven't quite figured out the leading cause of sleep talking, finding a cure won't be possible, for now. The only thing you can do now is a trial and error process of elimination to help you find out what works best for you. As always, sleep better and stay healthy.