Why do we talk while dreaming?

Why do people talk in their sleep?

Many of us know the phenomenon: in the middle of the night you suddenly wake up because you or the person next to you are uttering incoherent words or even whole sentences while sleeping. At first you usually react with amazement and then quickly go back to sleep - but where does talking in sleep come from and can you do something about it? We get to the bottom of these and other questions here!

Talking in your sleep: an overview of the facts

  • Talking in sleep starts with incomprehensible mumbling and can amount to entire monologues
  • Talking usually takes place in the REM sleep phase
  • When we talk in our sleep, we make conversations from our dreams
  • The phenomenon is normally harmless to health
  • It only becomes a concern when sleep or the relationship with bed neighbors suffers

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Why do people talk in their sleep? Meaning and cause

Around 50 percent of all children and adolescents sometimes speak in their sleep - this phenomenon, also known as somniloquia, still occurs in only 5 percent of all adults. Studies and tests have shown that talking in sleep occurs predominantly during the REM sleep phase, which is also when our dreams take place. This is also the reason for talking in sleep: the sleep researcher Arthur M. Arkins examined talking in sleep with his research team by waking test subjects shortly after a “conversation” in their sleep and asking them about their last dream. It turned out that the spoken words, sentences and monologues were conversations from the dream. The fact that these scraps of conversation are often very indistinct is due to the speech muscles, which are not active during sleep.

Accordingly, talking in sleep is basically neither bad nor harmful to health. However, research has shown that alcohol, fever, or stress make the phenomenon more likely. You only have to get used to talking in your sleep if your own sleep quality or your relationship with bed or room partners suffers. There are various possibilities.

Get rid of talking in your sleep

If you suffer yourself or others suffer from having conversations or making noises in your sleep, you can take advantage of various possibilities to get used to talking in your sleep. First and foremost, this includes relaxation exercises such as autogenic training, yoga or Qi Gong. Appropriate sleep hygiene is also one of the most important cornerstones of a healthy sleep without unnecessary conversations: From a regulated sleep rhythm to avoiding alcohol and heavy meals before bed, there are various ways to counteract talking during sleep. Avoiding caffeine and exercising during the day also help develop healthy sleep.

If these “home remedies” don't help, you should consider visiting a psychotherapist. Drug treatment with clonazepam or the like is also possible. However, this only becomes necessary as soon as your own sleep or the sleep of your bed partner or roommate suffers.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Question

How many people talk in their sleep?

Talking in your sleep is also known as somniloquie. About 50 percent of all children and young people as well as around 5 percent of adults show this sleep behavior. According to studies, talking during sleep occurs in all those affected predominantly during the REM sleep phase and depicts monologues or conversations from dream events.

Are we always telling the truth when we talk in our sleep?

Talking in your sleep is also known as somniloquie. The phenomenon mostly occurs during the REM sleep phase. Since people mostly dream intensely during this sleep phase, the words that are pronounced - sometimes clearly, sometimes indistinctly - depict the dream event. Accordingly, the dreaming also speaks not necessarily the truth - after all, dreams are often about events that have little in common with reality.

How can you get rid of talking in your sleep?

If the person concerned or his bed neighbor suffer from talking in their sleep, can Relaxation exercises, one better sleep hygiene and a Stabilization of your own sleep rhythm help avoid the nightly monologues. Avoiding alcohol, heavy meals, and caffeine before bed also helps suppress talking while you sleep.

How can speech be triggered in sleep?

Research has shown that when a person is talking in their sleep, the spoken sentences and words represent what the person is dreaming. However, speaking can go through during sleep, for example Alcohol or caffeine consumption be reinforced before bed.

While talking in your sleep is not harmful, if desired, it can often be avoided by avoiding caffeine or alcohol before bed.


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