Although it sounds pretty creepy, sleep talking (also called somniloquy or parasomnia) is actually quite common among people. Heck, chances are it has happened to you at least once in your lifetime.
However, even though it’s quite common, it can also be quite annoying for the sleeper next to you. And the problem is that you’re not aware of it! You’re asleep after all…
So what can you do? How can you stop yourself from talking in your sleep?
Here, we’ll explain the cause behind sleep talking and give you a few tips on how to stop this annoying occurrence.
What Is the Cause Behind Sleep Talking?
There isn’t a definitive cause behind sleep talking. There is some research stating that sometimes it’s connected to what we dream, but that’s not always the case.
Sleep talking is generally not considered to be a result of a serious sleep disorder or a disease, although there are instances where it can be.
Possible reasons why you may be talking in your sleep are:
- You’re frequently suffering from night terrors, which can include yelling, grunting, screaming, and sleep talking;
- You’re suffering from RBD (REM Sleep Behavior Disorder), a sleep disorder that makes you enact your dreams and sometimes makes you talk in your sleep;
- You’re suffering from emotional stress;
- You have a mental health disorder;
- You’re taking certain medications
- You have PTSD;
- You have a fever;
- Substance abuse.
How Can You Stop Sleep Talking?
There’s no magical cure for sleep talking, but there are some things you can try out, like talking to a sleep specialist or a mental health professional, improving your sleep hygiene, and eating healthy.
Let’s delve deeper into all of these and see how they can help you out.
Schedule With a Sleep Specialist
If you experience sleep problems and think you might have a sleep disorder, it’s best to speak to a sleep specialist. They will be able to tell whether you’ve got a more serious problem at your hands or whether it’s transient, and you just need to relax a bit and take it easy for a while.
If they think the matter is serious, they may ask you to do a sleep study (also called a polysomnogram), also often used in the diagnosis of sleep apnea.
Some sleep specialists may prescribe sleep medicine that will help you sleep better, and that’ll reduce or eliminate sleep talking by improving your sleep quality.
Work on Your Sleep Hygiene
Good sleep hygiene consists of healthy sleep habits like going to bed and waking up at regular intervals, sleeping for 7-9 hours every night, eating light dinner, and not using mobile devices in bed.
Improving your sleep hygiene can make a world of difference in your sleep quality and can put your circadian rhythm in order again. And you know what? Sleep talking and good quality sleep often don’t go together very well. You need to pick only one!
Talk to a Mental Health Professional
As was noted in the previous section, sleep talking can also emerge as a symptom of a mental health disorder (like PTSD, depression, anxiety, and others). That’s why it’s also a good idea to talk with your therapist if it doesn’t go away and you’ve ruled out sleep disorders (which can also be caused by mental health issues). Licensed therapists will be able to help you deal with whatever kind of issues you have that contribute to poor sleeping habits and to talking in your sleep.
Eat Quality Meals and Excercise
Healthy food like fruit and veggies and food that contains protein, complex carbs, and unsaturated fats are a must if you want to improve your sleep quality and keep yourself from talking in your sleep. Exercising three times a week is imperative as well; even light activity is enough—just walk for at least 15-30 minutes a couple of times a week, or do chores around the house if you’re not the type that likes to sweat much.
Last but not least, avoid drinking too much alcohol and caffeinated beverages throughout the day!
While there’s no precise cause for sleep talking, with the right diet and sleep habits it’s likely that it’ll go away on its own. And if it doesn’t, you can always turn to a sleep specialist, a mental health specialist - or both, and seek help from a professional.