SLEEP SECRETS

Signs, Symptoms and Remedies for Sleep Talking

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Picture this scene…its past midnight and you’re sleeping comfortably in your bed beside your partner. Suddenly you hear a muffled noise like someone whispering in your room. You think it’s a burglar (or a ghost), afraid you try to wake your partner and realize that the source of the strange noise is lying next to you. What’s happening here isn’t ‘supernatural’ but something that’s commonly known as Sleep talking.

Sleep talking is more commonly observed among kids and usually, they outgrow it with time. Research has shown that more than 66% of people have spoken in their sleep at some point in time.

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Sleep Talking

Let’s talk facts

It is a sleep disorder known as 'Somniloquy' and more commonly as ‘Sleep talking’. Before analyzing the causes and remedies for this we need to first understand the why’s and when’s about sleep talking.

  • The Why's: Research has shown that the trigger factors for sleep talking could be
    • External triggers like stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, high fever.
    • Hereditary i.e. passed down through genes.
    • Other sleep disorders such as sleep walking, night terrors, nightmares, insomnia, and sleep apnea.
  • The When's: Sleep talking happens during all phases of sleep. Research shows that when people talk during the lighter sleep stages (1 &2) their conversations are clearer whereas in deeper sleep stages (3 & 4) the conversation sounds more like mumbling, groaning, moaning i.e. you hear them but it’s just gibberish.

When to see a Doctor

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Sleep talking usually is harmless apart from being a cause of annoyance to others who share your bed/room and awkwardness to oneself. To know the severity of the condition here are certain markers that you could check against.

  • Frequency: The severity of sleep talk is determined by its frequency
    • Mild: the episode frequency is less than once a month.
    • Moderate: episodes once a week but it doesn’t disrupt sleep (yours and your roomies).
    • High: new episode daily that disrupts sleep. So, if your frequency is high, then you must visit the doctor.
  • The other sleep talking conditions wherein you must consult a doctor are:
    • When it is accompanied by a psychiatric disorder and/or seizures at night.
    • If you see symptoms REM Sleep Behavior disorder (punching, kicking, walking, or reaching for something when sleeping). This behaviour can cause one to injure themselves and others around.
    • When sleep talking starts post the age of 25 as this is a sign of a medical/mental illness.

Managing with Sleep Talker in your room

Most people suffer from mild to a moderate version of sleep talking but it still adversely affects the talker and their roomie. Here are some tips to help you and your roomie sleep better.

  • Roomie Tips: Use earplugs, download white noise creator app on the phone that helps neutralize ambient sounds or shift to another room till the treatment kicks in.
  • Talker Tips: Most times the reason for sleep talking is stress, anxiety, depression and trauma (watching a slasher or horror movie before bed can also cause mental trauma!!!). Certain lifestyle changes such as avoiding alcohol before bed, destressing through meditation and deep breathing exercises, and lastly following a good sleep regime (which means no scary movies at night) can help you have fewer instances of sleep talking. Most times the reason for sleep talking is stress, anxiety, depression and trauma (watching a slasher or horror movie before bed can also cause mental trauma!!!). Certain lifestyle changes such as avoiding alcohol before bed, destressing through meditation and deep breathing exercises, and lastly following a good sleep regime (which means no scary movies at night) can help you have fewer instances of sleep talking.
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Is there a cure?

As sleep talking is a condition and not a disease there is no cure, but it can be managed through lifestyle changes and prescribed medications. The first step towards managing this condition is to know the cause and for this sleep monitoring is essential. Sleep can be monitored by maintaining a sleep diary and through sleep monitoring applications such as Sleep Talk Recorder. The data collected over time will help your doctor identify the cause and start treatment accordingly.

Whatever be the cause of sleep talking lifestyle, hereditary, or medical if you follow the instructions of your doctor to the "t" you have a better chance of getting the essential 7 hours of beauty sleep night after night which is the crux of a healthy mind and body.

 

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