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Somniloquy is the formal name for sleep talking. It is a sleep disorder where a person talks during sleep. The person affected is unaware that he or she is talking while asleep. Sleep talking may involve complicated dialogues or monologues. There are also times when a person talks in gibberish or just mumblings. Sleep talking is rare and often short-lived. This condition is more common in males and children.
Sleep talkers use voices that sound different from their normal speaking voices. A sleep talker may talk about past experiences. Most of the time what a sleep talker talks about has no connection to their current emotional state.
What causes sleep talking?
Sleep talking may be a result of stress or depression. It can also be due to sleep deprivation or daytime drowsiness. There are also instances when sleep talking is because of alcohol consumption. It can also be due to sickness like a high fever. Sleep talking may run in families.
This disorder may also occur at the same time as other sleep disorders. It is not uncommon for sleep talking to occur together with confusional arousals, sleep apnea, or nightmares.
There are rare cases wherein adult-onset sleep talking is a result of a psychiatric disorder. It can even be a result of nocturnal seizures.
How do you treat sleep talking?
In general there is no need to treat sleep talking. Medical help may be necessary if sleep talking persists over a long period of time. This is to ensure that sleep talking is not a result of another medical condition like an undiagnosed sleep disorder.
If sleep talking is a result of anxiety or stress talk therapy may help resolve the issue. In some cases a doctor may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication.
There are also ways of preventing sleep talking. Since sleep talking may be a result of sleep-deprivation, sleep hygiene may help resolve the issue. Getting adequate sleep each night can help prevent sleep talking. Avoiding the consumption of alcoholic drinks and heavy meals can also help prevent sleep talking.
Sleep talking may be bothersome to a patient’s sleeping partner. An easy way of reducing the inconvenience of a sleep talking partner is through the use of earplugs. Earplugs can help dampen the sound of sleep talking partner.