Sleep talking, formally known as somniloquy, is a sleep disorder defined as talking during sleep without being aware of it. Sleep talking can involve complicated dialogues or monologues, complete gibberish or mumbling. The good news is that for most people it is a rare and short-lived occurrence. Anyone can experience sleep talking, but the condition is more common in males and children.
Sleep-talkers are not typically aware of their behaviors or speech; therefore their voices and the type of language they use may sound different from their wakeful speech. Sleep talking may be spontaneous or induced by conversation with the sleeper.
Little is known about the content of the sleep talking: some talking makes no sense at all and some of it may relate to past events, experiences, and relationships that no longer have current relevance or emotional impact. Modern sleep science and the law accept that sleep talking is not a product of a conscious or rational mind and is therefore usually inadmissible in court.
Although not physically harmful, sleep talking can cause embarrassment and can annoy a bed partner, roommate, or be disruptive in group-sleeping situations. Because of this, sleep talkers are sometimes afraid to sleep away from home and can cause insomnia in a person sleeping nearby.
The National Sleep Foundation offers a number of resources to help patients who are currently suffering from or think that they suffer from sleep talking. Explore the sections below for more information: