Do you or bae sleep talk? And do you ever try to make sense of the words that come out after?
We understand why, but sleep experts say it usually isn’t comprehensible. You can make more sense of why sleep talking happens though.
Does what we say in sleep talk mean anything?
In most cases, no, it doesn’t and it can be hard to make sense of.
Dr Lindsay Browning, a chartered psychologist and sleep expert for And So To Bed, tells us: “A sleep study a few years ago found that about half of sleep talking was incomprehensible, while the rest was speech with pauses as if in dialogue with another person.
“22% of recognisable speech contained nasty words, while less than 1 per cent contained polite language, such as ‘Can I help you?’. The most common words spoken, in descending order of frequency with the most common first, were “No”, “You” “To be” and “I”. “F*ck” was the 9th most common word spoken during sleep.
“Many of the recorded sleep talking episodes included exclamations or profanities, suggesting that sleep talking may reflect conflict and argumentative dialogue taking place in dreaming sleep.”
So unless the person is speaking clearly and logically – which is unlikely in most sleep talking cases – it shouldn’t be taken for gospel.
It could just be a sign of a bad dream, or on a more serious level, a manifestation of a worry.
Why do some people sleep talk?
Again, there isn’t a clear answer on this one. Some people get unlucky with sleep disorders.
Dr Guy Meadows, co-founder of Sleep School app, says: “Sleep talking is part of a group of sleep disorders known as parasomnias, which include any abnormal sleep behaviour, emotion and/or dream that occur during the night. It can occur at any point in the night and commonly occurs when transitioning from one sleep stage to another.
“For most, sleep talking is completely harmless. Although if experienced night after night can lead to poor sleep for both the talker and any recipient kept awake by the noise.”
Of all sleep disorders, sleep talking is one of the most common. Dr Meadows says nearly 66% of people will experience it at some point in their lives.
Is there anything you can do to stop?
Being a sleep talker – or worse, being someone that lies next to a sleep talker – can be annoying. There is no real cure for sleep talking and so most advice is based around prevention and good sleep hygiene. Dr Meadows suggests:
- Keep a regular sleep wake cycle – going to bed and getting up at the same time 7 days a week
- Make sleep a priority – aiming to get your biological sleep need most nights
- Keep off the stimulants – limit consumption of caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and sugar
- Be active – keep a regular exercise programme and keep active most days
- Wind down – keep a regular wind down routine including darkening down, switching off devices and enjoying calming activities before bed such as reading a print book.
Our advice? If it’s not linked to any negative wellbeing, have a laugh at the nonsense that comes out of you or your partner’s mouth the next day.