Do you keep your partner or housemates up with your sleep talking? While this is sometimes an innocent habit, sleep talking can, at other times, be a sign of deeper issues. Read on to learn exactly what sleep talking is, what causes it, and what you can do to stop it if it’s causing a disturbance in your everyday life.

What Is Sleep Talking?

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, only about 5% of adults talk in their sleep. While it tends to mostly be harmless mumbling, sleep talking can sometimes cause nightly disturbances for your sleeping partner, or even for the whole house. Sleep talking can also be a sign of suppressed stress or other emotional issues, or a substance issue. Read ahead where we’ll get into more detail about what sleep talking is, what causes it, and how to prevent sleep talking.

Why Do I Talk In My Sleep?

It’s a common question: “why do I talk in my sleep?” Before we dive into the reasons that you might be sleep talking, let’s first look at the definition.

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Slumber Yard team member Owen is a huge sleep talker

In short, sleep talking is a sleep disorder in which someone “talks during their sleep without being aware of it.” Sleep talking can occur during any stage of sleep, and according to scientific studies, is not necessarily linked to dreaming. It has been found, though, that in stages 1 and 2 of sleep, people may have entire conversations with complete sentences while in stages 3 and 4, speech may be restricted to moans and gibberish.

Don’t Read Too Much Into What You Say in Your Sleep

Has your partner ever murmured their ex-girlfriend’s name in their sleep? Try not to hold it against them, says sleep specialist Michael Breus, Ph.D.: “There’s no data to suggest that [sleep talking] is either predictive in nature or gives you a window into their subconscious or anything like that.” Both sleep scientists and the law have agreed that sleep talking is not a product of consciousness or rational thinking, and therefore cannot be used in court. In fact, it’s impossible for our brains to make up new people in our dreams, so all dreams have familiar faces in them and it’s quite common to dream about people you closely know.

Sleep talking can cause embarrassment or can annoy others, which can sometimes lead to the sleep talker not wanting to leave the house at night, or not wanting to have others sleep over. This can affect people’s social lives and relationships. If this is true for you or someone you know, it’s time to seek help with your sleep talking.

How Bad Is My Sleep Talking?

Unfortunately, there’s no magic cure when it comes to sleep talking. Most people grow out of it by adulthood. If you occasionally speak in your sleep, treatment isn’t necessary. You might just be in the middle of a stressful period. As we mentioned above, there are multiple levels of sleep talking. If you’re interested in stopping sleep talking, it might be helpful to learn about these stages and which ones you’re usually in.

  • Stage 1 and Stage 2: In these early stages of sleep talking, you aren’t sleeping as deeply as in the later stages. As a result, your sentences are clearer and easier to understand. If your partner is awake, you might even carry on a complete conversation with them (although you won’t remember it). 
  • Stage 3 and Stage 4: In these deeper stages of sleep, your words won’t make much sense. They may be hard to understand and slur together. 

Depending on how often you sleep talk, you’ll also fall into one of the following categories of sleep talking severity. 

  • Mild: Sleep talk occurs on occasion, about once a month or less. 
  • Moderate: Sleep talk is more frequent, occurring a few times per month. It may interrupt your partner. 
  • Severe: Sleep talk occurs pretty much nightly. It may seriously disturb your partner or other people in your house.

If your sleep talking is preventing your loved ones from getting their necessary sleep or it persists over a long period of time, you might want to talk to a doctor about how to stop talking in your sleep. There could be an underlying medical explanation for your sleep talking, such as stress, depression, fevers, medications, substance abuse, night terrors, or sleep deprivation, which can be caused by insomnia or sleep apnea. A doctor should better help you to identify the cause of your sleep talking, and then assist you in treatment.

If you ask how to keep from talking in your sleep, the best advice we can give you is to de-stress as much as possible during the day. Below we list some tips for learning to relax.

How To Stop Sleep Talking

With these relaxation and self-care tips, you have the best chance to learn how to stop sleep talking. Try incorporating one (or more) of these ideas into your bedtime routine tonight.

Skip the screen time

Too much screen time before bed can interfere with your quality of sleep. Before bed, put away your cell phone and turn off the TV. Unwind and ease yourself into sleep by sipping on a cup of tea or reading a book.

Essential oils 

Diffusing essential oils in your bedroom or at bedtime can help change your mood. There are plenty of scents that you can try, but we recommend soothing and relaxing scents like lavender and cedarwood.

RELATED: Shop For Essential Oils On Amazon

Weighted blankets 

Many people find weighted blankets helpful for relieving stress and anxiety. Since they’re heavier than a normal blanket, they create a feeling of comfort that imitates the sensation of a big warm hug. 

White noise machines 

If you don’t mind a bit of ambient sound as you fall asleep, white noise machines can not only help you get to sleep tonight, but they can possibly help you achieve better sleep through the night. Getting good quality sleep is very important for brain function the next day.

RELATED: Shop For White Noise Machines On Amazon

Magnesium supplements 

Finally, magnesium supplements are also proven to help both the mind and your muscles relax from stress, so that you’re less tense. Before you begin taking any supplements, however, be sure to discuss it with your doctor.

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