Somniloquy- What it Means and When to be Concerned

Somniloquy, or talking during sleep, is common. About 65% of the world's population has talked in their sleep at some point in their life. There are those who ramble on with incomprehensible babble, people who might put together a few sentences and others who may carry on a full on conversation! Sleep talking was downgraded from a sleep disorder to a regular occurrence, and therefore it doesn't get a lot of scientific attention, but we can fill you in on the basics.

Talking in Your Sleep is Almost Always Harmless

Sleep talking was removed from the list of sleep disorders because it's typically a completely harmless phenomenon. In fact, at least 50% of children regularly talk in their sleep and most people don't even find out if they're sleep talkers until their 20's and 30's when they start sharing a bed with a partner. If all this is new to you, don't be concerned if you hear your partner say some wild and crazy things! Nothing that we say in our sleep is connected to our waking reality. At most, somniloquy is usually just a huge irritant to our partners!

When to be Concerned or See a Doctor

Although you shouldn't jump straight to the conclusion that something is wrong if you notice yourself or a loved one sleep talking, there are some instances that you may want to speak to a doctor about-
  • If you are age 50+ with no history of sleep talking, this could be a sign of an oncoming neurological disease like Parkinson's or dementia.
  • If you're not just talking, but also screaming, yelling or acting out your dreams you should consult with your doctor and get to the underlying problem.
  • Groaning in your sleep may be a sign of catathernia, a symptom related to sleep apnea.
  • If you are aware of having (or are concerned that you may have) PTSD, sleep talking could be related to your trauma. Consult with a doctor, psychotherapist or counselor.




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