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Sleep Talking

Updated on November 14, 2012


It has been several years since I've been asked about this particular condition, known as somniloquy or sleep taking. I have done this myself in the past on occasion, after a particularly tiring, long day at a hectic occupation. There have also been times that I was either angry or laughing upon awakening from a dream, so I think all of these reactions are probably nothing to consider dangerous. However, your roommates may be disturbed by the noise. If it continues longer than a week, I advise you to seek professional guidance. it could be caused by some physical reaction or condition and this should be checked first.


Singing In the Dark

Several years ago, my circle of friends knew a young man that was almost addicted to professional baseball. He attended as many games as possible, watched them on television, collected baseball cards, memorized the statistics for the all of the members of his favorite teams, etc. I found that his true hobby was memorization. He memorized all the lyrics and dialogue of all the America musical productions of the 1960s - 1970s.

He memorized other material as well, including facts from American history and current - as many facts as he could find at the library and in classes. His idea of education was memorization, but so was much of the school system's.

You might be suspecting that he had some sort of mental disorder that is similar to that suffered by the Dustin Hoffman character in Rainman. I now wonder that myself. At the time, I began to suspect some neurological involvement, learning that alcoholism and substance addiction was evident in his family. He may even have inherited a learning disability from alcohol damage done to the egg and sperm that created him.

One humorous event in his life was a case of sleep taking. Actually, he was sleep singing. A parent found him standing upright at attention in bed one morning, singing the US National Anthem. If I recall correctly, he'd been dreaming of a baseball game.

All that aside, we can look at some information concerning sleep talking.

Possible Causes and Interpretations

Medicine tells us that sleep talking can be harmless and that most people do not remember the words they spoke while asleep. Some adults sleep talk for "no reason." Many more children up to age 10 do this, but I think it's the result of the fact that a child's brain and nervous system are not completely "done" (developed) until some few years later.

I think it must be related to sleep walking. However, doctors warn us that sleep talking can be attached to violence or a physical disorder. In these kinds of cases, an emotional shock such as the loss of a loved one or a breakup, or an extremely stressful event of some sort might be a precipitating event that overflows the glass of one's psyche and creates a sleep-talk event. Ask your own doctor for sure in your case.

The medical research suggests that most people, when they display sleep talking, do so only for half a minute, but some do this several times a night. It sometimes can become angry profanity or sexual material. Sometimes, it appears that the person is speaking to one or more other people, although witnesses see nothing. It might be a dream, although the sleeper will usually not recall it. In fact, the research shows in general that sleep talking can happen at any stage of sleep and not only during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) periods in which dreams occur.

In a spiritual analysis, some faiths and paranormal researchers might even interpret this as a visitation or spirit oppression. Watch the modern film The Fourth Kind for extreme cases of sleep talking.

Sleep talking can also be triggered by prescription medications, a mental health disorder, and substance or alcohol abuse, as well as emotional or other stress -- or a visitation in some schools of thought. Some people think that caffeine may also be a trigger for sleep talking. I'd agree, if caffeine was taken in a large amount or a person using it suddenly became sensitive or allergic to it.

Why Do People Talk In Their Sleep?

What to Do?

If you suspect a that sleep talking is a problem for you, keep a diary of what you ingest (food, beverages, medications, vitamins, everything), and when you sleep talk (a roommate can help with this). After a week passes and you feel you are sleep talking too much, take your diary on an appointment to your doctor or nurse practitioner and ask for help.

Another option is to volunteer as a subject at a sleep disorder clinic if related trials (studies) are being conducted in your town. You may even have referral to such a clinic from your doctor. Sleep talking can be related to sleep disorders that include sleep walking, Rapid Eye Movement Behavior Disorder, Night Terrors (these can be very serious), and Sleep-Related Eating Disorder.

Additional Health and Mental Health Links

Here are some links to other interesting presentations about life, health, and some odd occurrences that you might enjoy. Always contact your health provider if you suspect an illness that requires professional help.

Comments and Other Suggestions

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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 4 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      That's very interesting!

    • profile image

      Annamie Cureteyz 4 years ago

      I also have those nights when I sleep talk but the good thing is I am kinda aware that I talked during sleep and I suddenly wakes up and tell myself that I sleep talked.

    • profile image

      chelsea lea 6 years ago

      Hi, just read this about sleep talking and sleep walking. I sleep in my sleep everynight, I walk around the flat occasionally. I fight and bite in my sleep. Once I was in a hotel and got locked out of my room in my underwear and was sleep walking around the hotel. When someone woke me up I went to reception and they told me everything. Do I need to go to a doctor or will I grow out of this. I've done this all my life I'm now 20. ??

    • lyla1 profile image

      lyla1 6 years ago

      interesting Video, thanks for the information- stored nice and safely in my head xx

      - Lyla1

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Rushikesh - Do you have a sleep research clinic at a nearby college? They could possibly answer your question and take a look at you.

      Otherwise, for the next week, keep a log record of what you eat, do, and watch on TV for 4 hours before you go to bed every night. Also wrtie down all medicines, vitamins, etc that you take anytime of day. Then look for patterns of when you talk the most often in your sleep. Get your roommates involved - tell them you are trying to solve the problem, so would they please tell you when you talk in your sleep and disturb them. Maybe they will also keep a 1-week log.

      If you see no pattern, call your doctor and ask for help.

    • profile image

      Rushikesh 6 years ago

      I am talking too much after sleeping. i can say many times i talk too much and my roommate are getting disturbed. please advice the solution.

    • D.Virtual.Doctor profile image

      Funom Theophilus Makama 7 years ago from Europe

      hmmm! simply breathless and speechless. I did not waste a microsecond bookmarking this hub.

      Wonderful, nice, great, useful, beautiful and awesome.

    • profile image

      Andy Johnston 7 years ago

      I don't think I do much talking in my sleep now considering that my bedside alarm clock is voice activated. I use a Moshi Lifestyle alarm clock and it is voice activated so if I'm talking in my sleep and say the word "moshi" it will end up talking back. Interesting article on sleep-talking though, thanks!

    • theherbivorehippi profile image

      theherbivorehippi 7 years ago from Holly, MI

      I love this Hub! When I was young I would literally hold entire conversations with my mom in my sleep...this is how she would always know what parties I was sneaking off to, who I was with, etc but I slept walked to and I could randomly be found at neighbor's houses on porch swings and other odd places. This is such a great Hub because I haven't thought about the talking in so many years!

    • culinarycaveman profile image

      culinarycaveman 8 years ago from Dem Woods, Sussex, England

      Sound advice.

      2 of my kids talk, shout, argue in their sleep, I am always trying to understand what they say but it always seems to be part sense part nonsense. Freaks the heck out me sometimes.

    • motricio profile image

      Mauricio Rodriguez 8 years ago from Bogota DC, Colombia

      Back back around here!

      Lastnight I was laughing about a dream with a joke with my friends from my native city, guess I miss them so much.

      jajajaja =) - Thanks Patty

    • bengriston profile image

      bengriston 8 years ago

      My spouse does this on occasion. It is actually a little eerie since it comes out so plain.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Hi Clara - represents what he does in real life, doesn't it? Makes sense to me :)

    • Clara Ghomes profile image

      Clara Ghomes 8 years ago

      Thats a nice hub.. though I do not have such habit but still my brother does it sometimes.. playing Cricket and remembering answers of questions that has been taught in teh school..:)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      That makes sense to me, lakeerieartists, and it sounds fun to hear.

    • lakeerieartists profile image

      Paula Atwell 8 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      My 12 year has talked in her sleep since she was able to talk. She doesn't do it nearly as often as she used to, but when she does it is clear as a bell. Sometimes she is arguing with her sister in her sleep.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Sleep peeping! - that's a good one, Lady_E.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 8 years ago from London, UK

      Very interesting Topic. It's amazing what people do in their sleep. Sleep talk, Sleep walk etc

      I've been told I sleep with my eyes half open. Scary.

      I guess I'll call that Sleep peeping. lol

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I enjoy watching baseball very much; better at the stadium than on TV. Loved to play as well, but we had no women's sports program in our schools and lagged behind other state sthat implemented Title IX. Still love to watch, though. Too bad it's out of the Olympics.

    • dusanotes profile image

      dusanotes 8 years ago from Windermere, FL

      Thanks for this Hub. I don't think you can get enough baseball. No, I'm not addicted, just a very good former semi-pro and college player. I loved your hub. This abnormal guy you speak of would not make an interesting bedfellow. He would last about five minutes with me, however. I don't like people sleeping in my bed, except my wife, and people who talk in their sleep - let alone sing the National Anthem. Don White

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Lots of us seem to talk in sleep and some fall out of beds. LOL

      mortricio - let us know how it goes.

    • emievil profile image

      emievil 8 years ago from Philippines

      I sleep talk and I used to sleep walk when I was younger. One time I had to work overnight in a client of mine and I feel asleep on a sitting position. The client was surprised when I started talking in my sleep. She was even scared because apparently, my tone was sort of angry. But after that, I haven't heard anybody complain (not even my husband) that I talk in my sleep. Maybe it was just stress and fatigue because we were very busy and we definitely lack sleep. Thanks for the hub Patty.

    • Army Infantry Mom profile image

      Army Infantry Mom 8 years ago

      Very insightful hub Patty,..I had some issues with screaming in my sleep after my son deployed, scared the younger kids the first couple of times. But it stopped shortly after my son came home. Stress does and can play a part in it.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      LOL-so do I!

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image

      Tammy Lochmann 8 years ago

      I talk in my sleep all the time. I wake myself up talking and my ever suffering husband. My father has always talked in his sleep. I really wasn't aware this was a disorder being in the medical field and all. Very interesting!

      Tammy :-D

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 8 years ago from Great Britain

      Thank for so much info, Patty. My daughter has been talking in her sleep for years. Sometimes the words don't make sense.

    • Lisa Luv profile image

      Lisa J Warner AKA Lisa Luv 8 years ago from Conneticut, USA

      Interesting--I've woken myself up sleep talking, giggling, laughing, crying. Vivid dreams I suppose.

    • motricio profile image

      Mauricio Rodriguez 8 years ago from Bogota DC, Colombia

      OMG, never though you'll be answering using a whole Hub!

      And yes, you are right. At this point i'm living by myself, working and food and cooking for myself or even others is not always an option in tiring days, so, i'm having a food disorder.

      Going to try to get a strict control to what i'm eating.

      Thank you very much, =D

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      lorlie6 - That's very interesting - thanks for letting us know that! I don't know if I talk in my sleep anymore, but I still fall out of bed.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Thanks for this Hub, Patty, I know that I have spoken in my sleep many times: apparently just out of the REM period, for I usually remember exactly what I have said.