Somniloquia: Why do we talk in our sleep?

Many people talk unconsciously while sleeping. Talking in your sleep is generally considered a harmless behavioral disorder. But why do we talk, mumble or scream in our sleep and what is the cause and meaning behind it? Find out here what talking flows at night are all about and what you can do to sleep more peacefully again.

Table of Contents

      1. Unconscious speaking in sleep
      2. Why do we talk in our sleep?
      3. What meaning do words have in sleep?
      4. Is talking while sleeping harmful?
      5. This helps against talking in your sleep
      6. Conclusion

        1. Unconscious speaking in sleep

        Snoring, talking, grinding teeth or sleepwalking - behaving unusually at night is probably more common than we think. One of these unusual phenomena, the occurrence of which we usually don't even notice, is talking in our sleep.

        The so-called somniloquia refers to the unconscious behavior of talking and uttering sounds, words or sentences during sleep. This behavior, which occurs in various forms, from making incomprehensible sounds to saying entire conversations, is particularly common in childhood. Between the ages of 2 and 10, almost 50% of children talk while sleeping. But even in adulthood, almost 5% of people are still affected.

        Somniloquia is basically referred to as a sleep disorder, but it is actually not a real illness, but rather a largely harmless behavior. Talking in their sleep is usually not even noticed by those affected and has little impact on the quality of their sleep. Conversations at night usually only become a problem when, like noise or loud snoring, they disturb the sleep of those in the bed and in the room.

        2. Why do we talk in our sleep?

        Our sleep occurs in several sleep phases in which our brain is differently active. You can read about exactly what happens when you sleep ➥ here. Although nocturnal conversations can occur in any phase of sleep, they often take place in REM phases - exactly when we dream.

        Der Schlafzyklus und die unterschiedlichen Schlafphasen

        Scientific studies show that the content of what is spoken often corresponds to the events of the dreams experienced at the same time. This suggests that unconscious speaking could be related to the visual processing of everyday events and information. However, the exact cause or triggers for the occurrence of somniloquia are not yet known in research.

        By the way: In close family circles, several people are often affected. It is therefore assumed that speaking while sleeping is hereditary.

        3. What meaning do the words have in sleep?

        Most utterances during sleep are rather incomprehensible to others and are nothing more than indistinct murmurs, laughter, screams or short snippets of words and sounds. The sleep paralysis that occurs in the REM phase paralyzes the muscles and naturally prevents our body from reacting motorically to the dream events. This also affects the muscles that are needed for articulation and speaking. Conversations during sleep are not always understandable. However, some people still manage to articulate entire words and sentences. But don't worry! Even if we express ourselves understandably while we sleep, what we speak is usually meaningless or dream-related, so you usually don't have to be afraid of unconsciously chatting about secrets or private matters.

        4. Is talking while sleeping harmful?

        Basically, unconscious talking during sleep is one of the harmless behavioral disorders. These may be annoying for those affected, but harmless. Depending on the severity, the occurrence of somniloquia can disrupt the sleep of your partner or roommate because they are repeatedly woken up by the acoustic stimuli emitted and prevented from sleeping through the night.

        5. This helps against talking in your sleep

        Entspannung, Ausgeglichenheit und gute Schlafhygiene

        As long as you are healthy, do not suffer from other sleep disorders, increased psychological stress or increased stress and do not harm anyone else by talking in your sleep, it is usually not absolutely necessary to take action against somniloquia. However, if talking in your sleep bothers your bed partner or you still feel uncomfortable, these two tips can help.

        » Good sleep hygiene

        Good sleep hygiene helps improve sleep and prevent unusual behavior. For example, it is important to have a regular sleep-wake rhythm, the right sleeping environment and avoiding heavy meals, alcohol and foods and beverages containing caffeine or nicotine before going to bed. For more information on proper sleep hygiene, see ➥ this article.

        » Relaxation exercises

        Adequate relaxation before bed can reduce the frequency of sleep talking and promote healthy, restful sleep. Various techniques such as Qi-Gong, yoga or autogenic training support deep relaxation and balance and have already proven useful for some people as a useful aid against frequent talking while sleeping. We have already presented some relaxation techniques and herbal sedatives on our blog.

        6. Conclusion

        • Somniloquia refers to the unconscious behavior of talking and uttering sounds, words or sentences during sleep.

        • Unconscious talking while sleeping is harmless, but is usually perceived as disturbing by those affected or their partners.
        • The cause of somniloquia is not scientifically known, but, like dreaming, it could lie in the processing of information and experiences.
        • Good sleep hygiene and targeted relaxation before bed can reduce the frequency of talking in your sleep.

        Greetings and see you soon!

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