Nothing beats a good night’s sleep when it comes to mind refreshment. But you may not achieve that if you are sleeping in the same bed or room with a person who sleep-talks. Unfortunately, sleep-talking is an unconscious act, and so, in as much as someone may want to remain quiet, they might find themselves feeling embraced upon waking up and being told that they were having a conversation with invisible people.
If you are a sleep-talker, you can find it a bit uncomfortable to share a bed or a room with another person because you are likely to reveal your dark little secrets during your sleep conversations. But despite how bad the things you say while asleep are, don’t worry about possible legal consequences because the court can’t rely on such information. However, you coming here to read this article shows your discontentment with the sleep problem and determination to stop it. Before learning what you can do to stop sleep talking, it’s important for you to know what might be causing the sleep disorder.
What causes sleep talking?
Unfortunately, there’s no scientific evidence that links specific factors directly to sleep talking, a sleep disorder which is also called somniloquy. Besides, doctors can’t really understand the exact brain activity of a person while he/she is sleep talking. As such, it is almost impossible to define a definite way of getting rid of the problem completely.
According to Terry Cralle ( MS, RN, CPHQ – RN, Certified Clinical Sleep Expert), who is the founder of terrycralle.com, any person can experience somniloquy at any time while he/she is asleep. However, scientists have pointed out various factors that can increase the chances of a person experiencing sleep disorder. They include:
Genetics refers to the transmission of inborn character traits from one person in a family lineage to another. Children born by parents who sleep talk are at higher risk of experiencing the disorder as compared to those whose parents don’t sleep talk.
Research shows that men are more prone to sleep talking than their female counterparts.
According to several studies done on somniloquy, the problem is more rampant among children than adults. So, some people are likely to have a tendency to talk in their sleep during their childhood but get over the problem naturally when they become adults.
Other sleep disorders
People with other sleep conditions such as sleep apnea, insomnia, sleepwalking, or night terrors are also at high risk of being sleeptalkers than those who don’t have the disorders.
Prescription drug side effects
Some prescription drugs have been found to cause somniloquy as a side effect. Therefore, if you are sleeptalking for the first time or more frequently and you are on prescribed drugs, you need to check out with your healthcare provider or pharmacist to establish if they are the real cause and perhaps offer a solution.
Stimulant drugs and depressants affect your internal clock, or what your learned friends call circadian rhythm. So, when you take them, their artificial effect disrupts your regular sleeping schedule. For instance, a depressant drug like alcohol creates drowsiness, which makes you fall asleep earlier than your normal bedtime. On the other hand, a stimulant like caffeine keeps you awake longer and might make you fall asleep a couple of hours later than your usual time of going to bed. When your sleep schedule is disrupted, you are at higher risk of talking or screaming in your sleep
When you don’t get enough sleep in a night or several nights, your mind becomes so stressed that it experiences difficulty while taking you from one sleep stage to another, especially from the slow-wave stages to the lighter ones. Waking up becomes a problem, too, and you’ll find yourself struggling to free from the prolonged grogginess stage. The struggle becomes so intense that you are highly likely to talk while in that state of sleepiness.
Anxiety or depression
Anxiety and depression can cause sleep deprivation, which we’ve already seen as a contributing factor to sleep talking. A person who is experiencing either of the conditions is unable to have ample shut-eye. Therefore, he/she has increased risks of various sleep disorders, somniloquy being one of them.
Tips on how to stop sleep talking
Some people who sleep talk don’t worry much about the problem, possibly because the problem doesn’t seem to be a threat to their wellbeing and that of their loved ones. Also, in some cases, the problem is infrequent and mild.
However, some people who sleep talk experience rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder which makes them act violently. They are the kind of people who can talk/yell and kick or punch violently in their dreams, and in the process, they might end up hurting other people or themselves. If you belong in this category, it’s high time you act on the sleep disorder before you cause serious damages.
Besides, if somniloquy is making you wake up feeling extremely fearful or sweating excessively or your house/bed-mate is very uncomfortable with your night screaming/talks, you should find a way to minimize or eliminate it.
Here are some of the tips you can apply to stop sleep talking:
- Adopt stress-reduction techniques
Stress is a major hindrance to a good night’s rest. So, it is important to go to bed when your mind and body are not stressed up. Before going to bed every day, consider performing stress-relieving techniques like deep breathing exercises, meditation and/or yoga. Such activities will relax your mind in preparation to take you through the normal sleep cycle stages seamlessly.
- Develop sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene refers to the maintenance of a certain sleep routine, which includes going to bed and waking up at specific times every day. When you do this, your mind will be accustomed to a certain sleep pattern and this will help you to go through all the sleep cycles smoothly and silently. Also, you need to keep all possible sleep distractors such as electronic devices off your bedroom to avoid wake-ups that might interfere with the routine. Besides, ensure that your routine includes at least seven consecutive hours of uninterrupted sleep.
- Avoid stimulants and depressants if possible
If you’ve established that you sleep talk after taking a stimulant or a depressant product, it’s good to stop taking it altogether. If you must take it, ensure that you do so at least five hours before your scheduled bedtime and in moderation.
- Seek doctor’s help
If you’ve tried all the above measures and your sleep talking problem still persist, consider visiting your doctor for a comprehensive assessment and customized recommendations, depending on the established or suspected cause(s).
Somniloquy is a common sleep disorder that you can ignore if it’s not bothering you and other people. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t turn a blind eye on it if it’s severe or threatening your well-being or the peace of your loved one(s).