Sleep talking is talking during sleep where the concerned person is not aware of it. In medical parlance sleep talking is called somniloquy. This sleep disorder can affect anyone, but is seen more common among children and men. Talking in sleep can be in the form of dialogue, monologue, mumbling etc.
Causes of sleep talking:
Sleep talking can affect anyone. It can affect adults as well as children. It is more common in children and men. The exact etiology of sleep talking still remains uncertain. But certain factors are suspected to be triggers for sleep talking. One of the main factors is hereditary. If your parents or siblings had history of sleep talking, you are likely to be affected.
Symptoms of sleep talking:
A person who talks in his sleep is not aware of it even when he gets up in the morning. He cannot remember of any such episode. Usually person near him will tell him about his somniloquy. Sleep talking can occur at any stage of sleep. In stage 1 and 2 when the person is not yet in his deep sleep; his speech is easy to understand. But in stage 3 and 4, sleep talker’s speech is difficult to understand and is more of mumbling and gibberish. The speech can be graphic and usually lasts for few second or a minute. There can be repetition of speech episodes during whole night of it can occur once at night. At least 1 out of 10 children is known to talk in his sleep between the ages of 3 to 10 years. In some cases a patient having sleep talking disorder may also walk and eat in his sleep.
Is it necessary to consult a doctor?
Sleep talking is normally a harmless condition, but in certain situations the person may need to consult his medical practitioner. For example, if sleep talking becomes extremely severe and affects his regular daytime routine or affects quality of sleep he must seek medical assistance. In rare instance sleep talking can occur together with nighttime seizure or a psychiatric disorder. In both condition person must seek medical assistance. If sleep talking is accompanied with sleep walking or sleep eating episodes he must consult his doctor.
Normally sleep talking is harmless and resolves on its own without any medical intervention. However, you must consult a sleep specialist if you are an adult and if sleep talking occurs for the first time after the age of 25. This may be an indication of some other condition that needs attention. Sleep talkers also need medical assistance if he or she becomes violent and screams loudly in his sleep. Medical consultation is also needed if person feels too tired or if sleep talking is disturbing his regular daytime activities. There is no medication available that will help to control sleep talking. But the doctor will be able to find out any underlying problem that may be responsible for sleep talking. For example if it is due to alcohol he will advise you to abstain from it. If stress and depression is the cause, he may recommend yoga, meditation.