We use the name “Somniloquy with L&C” because somniloquy means “sleep-talking”. Since this blog is dedicated to talking about all things sleep, the name seemed apropos. However, we never fully delved into the subject of talking in one’s sleep...we just talked about, well, things related to sleep. Why do people talk in their sleep? What causes sleep-talking? Is there anything that can be done to prevent this?
Why do people talk in their sleep? One reason is because when one is dreaming, they most often are temporarily in a paralyzed-like state. This natural occurrence is to keep one from acting out their dreams. Occasionally, however, our vocal cords and mouth may reactivate temporarily. Typically, this only lasts for a few seconds, and it is during this period that we may verbalize our dreams. A second reason is that at times we are in a state where we are no longer fully awake, but we aren’t yet asleep, either. We may talk during this period, but if we do it often doesn’t make much sense.
What causes sleep-talking? A variety of reasons can prompt this phenomenon. Certain medications, drugs, or alcohol could be the culprit. Sometimes talking in one’s sleep is caused by depression, anxiety or stress. It can also be caused by sleep deprivation, fever, or it may occur alongside other sleep disorders such as sleepwalking and night terrors.
Children and men tend to be more predisposed to somniloquy. A child who frequently talks in his or her sleep often grows out of the habit as they reach adulthood. Often just practicing good sleep hygiene, including going to bed and waking at the same time, not drinking or eating heavily before bed, and getting the proper sleep for your body, is all it takes to prevent sleep-talking. If you find that you are frequently experiencing somniloquy, you should talk to your health care provider. He or she can examine the situation and determine if there is an underlying cause, such as a medication you are prescribed or possible sleep disorder. Together, the two of you can try to find a solution.
Though my partner has never accused me of talking in my sleep, I am not certain that I have never done it. I have never heard my partner sleep-talking, and I am okay with that. I can only imagine what might come out of his mouth while he is sleeping. Hopefully, I will never hear him sleep-talking and I will continue to keep my somniloquy solely to this blog.