Do you sometimes wake up in the morning and you’re more tired than you should be? Do you feel like sometimes you wake up and you’ve been deep in conversation all night? You might be a sleep talker. Talking in your sleep is very common, but it can be very obstructive. So, we’ve put together this helpful guide on how to stop talking in your sleep!
Notes About Sleep-Talking
Sleep-talking (known formally as somniloquy) is a fairly common sleep disorder that affects about 5% of adults and half of young children. It’s thought that this disorder is mainly genetic, though it can also be brought on by external circumstances or mental/emotional distress.
Those who experience sleep-talking do so with varying levels of frequency, classified as follows:
|Mild||1x per month|
|Moderate||4x per month|
Someone who talks in their sleep may speak in full sentences or monosyllables, whispers or shouts, and in either a clear or an incomprehensible manner. Additionally, the level of comprehensibility seems to fluctuate based on which stage of sleep the individual is in at the time of sleep-talking:
|Stages of Sleep||Comprehensibility|
|Stage 1 (Non-REM)
Stage 2 (Non-REM)
|Easier to understand / More comprehensible|
|Stage 3 (Non-REM)
Stage 4 (REM)
|Harder to understand / Less comprehensible|
Because somniloquy is so common in both children and adults, you shouldn’t worry about your own sleep-talking unless it’s very frequent or accompanied by other symptoms. For example, if you also struggle with sleepwalking or if you never feel well-rested in the morning, you should probably see a sleep specialist to make sure nothing is wrong. They can do a polysomnogram to determine if an issue exists.
In some cases, sleep-talking is a symptom of a larger problem like frequent night terrors or RBD (REM sleep behavior disorder). If this is the case, you may need treatment to try and solve the underlying issue.
Remedies for Sleep-Talking
Unfortunately, there is no definite treatment for sleep-talking—but there are things you can do to try and reduce your number of occurrences.
1. Get Sufficient Sleep Each Night
One of the most effective remedies in the reduction of sleep-talking is simple: Get more sleep! A possible cause of sleep-talking is not getting enough sleep (or high enough quality sleep) and many people find that getting good sleep on a regular basis helps resolve the issue.
Not sure where to start? Here are some tips you can try:
2. Set a regular bedtime and wake up time
Our sleep patterns are largely goverened by a circadian rhythm (a.k.a. sleep-wake cycle). A person’s circadian rhythm is a biological cycle based on a 24-hour day, and one of its primary functions is ensuring we sleep when it’s dark and stay awake while it’s light. It does this by producing the hormone melatonin in the evening to make us sleepy and stopping its production in the morning.
A person with a stable circadian rhythm will get sleepy at night and feel more alert when it’s light outside. But in today’s modern world, our circadian rhythms can be thrown off by a variety of different things—including an irregular bedtime and wakeup time.
One of the best ways to get your cycle back on track is to start going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning. If this is not something you’re used to, consider adjusting your schedule more gradually; for example, you could go to bed 15 minutes earlier than usual tonight and next week go another 15 minutes earlier…and do so until you reach your desired bedtime.
3. Relax before going to bed
It can be impossible to sleep when your thoughts are racing, you’re worried about work or your personal life, or you’re just not in a good place emotionally. To counteract your anxiety or restlessness, you may want to focus on finding ways to relax and unwind before bedtime. Here are a few ideas:
- Listen to calming music
- Light some incense
- Play a game or solve a puzzle
- Read a book
- Write in a journal or do freewriting
- Recite a sleep mantra
- Engage in a tech-free hobby
4. Limit your screen time starting 1-2 hours before bed.
As mentioned earlier, our sleep patterns are dictated by our circadian rhythms. Light exposure tells our brain to stop producing melatonin, while exposure to the dark tells it to begin producing it again. And this effect can be brought on by any light, not only that from the sun!
Blue light, in particular, is known to disrupt sleep by telling our brain to stop its production of melatonin—even if it’s nighttime. We expose ourselves to blue light every time we turn on the TV, scroll through social media on our phone, or stay up late completing work or school assignments on our laptop.
If you spend a lot of tech time at night before bed, this may be why you’re struggling to sleep well. A simple remedy is to limit your use of technology for 1-2 hours before heading to bed—you can find other activities to indulge in instead: reading, listening to music, baking, playing with your pet, solving a puzzle with your family…the list is endless.
5. Keep your bedroom at a lower temperature
If you often wake up during the night feeling too hot or struggle to “get comfortable” when trying to sleep, it may be an indicator that the temperature in your bedroom is too high. Sleep experts recommend keeping your bedroom at around 65°F.
6. Get exercise during the day
Daytime exercise—especially in the morning—comes with a wealth of mental, emotional, and physical benefits. Spending time in the sunlight helps to regulate your circadian rhythm, and the exercise itself triggers the release of endorphins (which help you feel better and ward off pain) and lowers your blood pressure throughout the day. This combination of factors can help lead to better sleep quality and longer overall sleep time.
7. Mind your food and beverage consumption
It’s always recommended to avoid consuming caffeine or alcohol before bed, as both of these substances can disrupt your sleep. In addition, you should avoid consuming anything that might upset your stomach or cause indigestion—this includes candy, chips, soda, and spicy foods. Finally, limit the amount of water or herbal tea you drink before bed; drinking too much may interrupt your sleep by making you get up to use the bathroom.
8. Try a white noise machine or falling asleep with music
Some people find that falling asleep is easier when there’s some kind of noise in the background. If this sounds like you, you should consider purchasing a white noise machine or creating your own “sleep” playlist on YouTube with your favorite relaxing songs.
9. Start a Sleep Diary
Some sleep-talkers find that keeping a sleep diary helps them get to the root of their issue. The idea is that by writing down your before-bed habits each day, you’ll be able to see if there are any correlations between them and your sleep-talking. You can then experiment with adjustments to your nightly routine to see if anything makes a positive difference.
Curious to try it for yourself? Here’s what you should include in each entry:
- What time you went to bed, fell asleep, and woke up
- Any items you ate or drank before heading to bed
- If and when you exercised that day
- Any medications you’re currently taking (or took on a given night)
You should write an entry every night for about two weeks, as this will give you a good idea of what your waking and sleeping habits are. If you notice any patterns that concern you, or if you don’t think the sleep diary has helped you pinpoint an issue, you should consider visiting your doctor or scheduling an appointment with a sleep specialist.
10. For Your Partner
No, we have not forgotten your S.O. Trying to get some shut-eye while a sleep-talker is doing their thing can be difficult, but there are a few things your partner can try to get a better night’s sleep themselves.
If your sleep-talking is infrequent or mild in nature, your partner can probably get away with wearing a pair of earplugs at night or employing the use of a white noise machine. In more extreme cases, it may be most beneficial for you and your partner to sleep in different beds or even in different rooms. If your sleep-talking has become a problem for your loved one, it’s important that you discuss potential solutions together.
In this article, we discussed what sleep-talking is and what you can try today to nip the problem in the bud. We hope that this information is useful to you and that you feel more confident about getting a better (read: quieter) night’s sleep—for both you and your partner!
If you still have questions or concerns, or maybe a sleep-talking remedy that’s worked for you, let us know in the comments. We love hearing from you, and will be glad to help however we can.
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