The first encounter when their partner tells sleep-talkers that they have been talking in their sleep is that of utter confusion and nervousness. Either they think that something terrible has happened to them or they feel that they have revealed some dark secrets.
It can be quite unsettling to discover that you have uttered something weird in your sleep that you don’t even remember. But fortunately, you don’t have to lose your sleep over it.
Sleep talking, in most cases, is nothing to worry about and the statements made in your sleep should not be psychoanalyzed to be portraying some deeper truth or be of some relevance. There is no data that can say that sleep talking gives you a window through your subconscious or anything even close.
What is Sleep Talking?
Sleep talking is a kind of parasomnia and its scientific name is “somniloquy”. The Parasomnias are the sleep disorders occurring at the various stages of sleep like between wakefulness and sleep or between the REM sleep and light sleep. The Parasomnia range from seriously interfering with the circadian rhythms of the person like the delayed sleep-phase syndrome to the intense fear generating night terrors. Most of the times, which is often the case with night terrors, these are quite harmless.
Who are the Chattiest Sleepers?
This condition is most common among children and about half of the kids between the age of 3 to 10 years report routine incidences of the same. Both girls and boys can chat during their sleep and there can also be a genetic connection.
Causes Leading to Sleep Talking
Remember that sleep talking is not always what a person is dreaming about. It can occur at any stage of the sleep REM or not.
Here are some of the major and serious causes of sleep talking. Just take a look.
- REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder – This is the time when dreaming occurs and it covers about 20-25% of our total sleep time. This is the busiest time for our brains and during this time the eyes flutter underneath the eyelids, the heart rate enhances, the blood pressure rises and the brain wave activity is great for being awake. During the REM, the body remains almost paralysed as a result of which we don’t act out our dreams. But people with REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder tend to act their dreams out. They not only can talk, but also can move around and get violent during this time.
- Night Terrors – The night terrors are usually experienced by about 1% among the adults and 7-8% of the kids. People who experience this can be awakened suddenly by a jolt to the nervous system, filled with dread, fear and confusion. They also go through a rapid heart rate and break out in sweats during this time. When the night terror occurs, just like RBD, people can get violent, scream and kick unlike the nightmares when the muscles of the person remain paralysed at the time of REM sleep.
- Nocturnal Sleep Related Eating Disorder – If you are thinking about where the snacks that you just bought a few days back went and nobody in your house is owning up, then it is time that you glimpse inwards. This is especially the case if you are facing some unexpected weight gain. The Nocturnal Sleep Related Eating Disorder takes place when you eat when you are not awake or are still asleep. Moreover, if someone confronts as they are devouring the snack, they may even respond to them and this is a symptom of sleep talking.
- Sleepwalking – Also known as somnambulism, this occurs when the person sits up, stands and starts walking usually within a couple of hours of sleep or at the time of NREM sleep. This is one of the most striking case of parasomnia as others in the house can get scared because of that. They can also talk during this episode with no memory of the same in the following day.
Both mental disorders or genetic connections can make one talk in sleep. Sleep talking can be also the result of fevers, stress, substance abuse, medications or sleep deprivation. Again, sleep deprivation can be the result of another sleep issue like sleep apnea or insomnia or stress.
If you or somebody you know is experiencing this, you should immediately consult with a reputed sleep specialist in Brooklyn who can guide the person and help them control or get rid of this anomaly by detecting and treating the real cause.