Causes of somniloquia (sleep speak)

What is somniloquie?

Somniloquiy, also known as sleep speaking, is a sleep disorder characterized by speaking unconsciously or unintentionally while you sleep. Somniloquiy is a type of parasomnia that is usually uncontrollable, such as: B. grinding teeth or sleepwalking.

Somniloquy usually occurs during Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) or Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. It is found in and women alike, and in some cases it can be hereditary. Somniloquiy usually takes place in the dominant language of the individual.

Sleep talk is considered normal for children after a playful day and adults after an eventful or stressful day. Although sleep talk does occur in healthy individuals, it can also be associated with an illness such as sleep apnea, night terrors, chronic headaches, and is also triggered by factors such as emotional stress and nightmares.

Child sleeps. Image source: Yuganov Konstantin /

Living with Somniloquie.

The main symptom of sleep talking is an audible expression that the person is completely unaware of. Speech while speaking in sleep can be intelligible, incomprehensible, audible, short or long – it varies from person to person, and most of the time the person does not remember what they said. It is reported that 50 percent of recorded sleep conversations are incomprehensible. The entire episode can be as little as a handful of words or a few sentences.

People don’t know they are talking in their sleep unless an observer tells them or they have a sound recorder that records sounds while they sleep. In general, people suffering from sleep talk may not be able to remember the episodes when they wake up. The duration of the sleep talk is usually short and rarely involves long conversations. The content during the sleep talk may or may not be obviously related to a person’s life. It can even be current events or previous discussions.

What are the causes of somniloquie?

The reason for the sleep talk is still not clear; However, research shows that it is primarily associated with genetics. Children who talk in their sleep are likely to have parents who have been or are still doing the same thing.

Sleep talk is mostly seen in people with mental health problems or conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety. Sleep talk can also be linked to nightmares, especially in children. Sleep talking is also found to coexist with sleepwalking, teeth grinding, and nightmares.

Some medications, such as antidepressants, can also cause insomnia. Drugs stimulate and increase muscle tone in REM, leading to parasomnias such as sleep talking and sleepwalking. Another cause of sleep talk is abuse of substances like alcohol; It is found that a person under the influence of alcohol sleeps more when they are asleep.

High fever is also one of the causes of sleep talk. It is common for a person with a high fever to talk in their sleep, and this usually lasts longer than the usual short sleep talk.

How can we stop somniloquie?

Sleep talking rarely harms a person. It is usually more of a problem for the observer of the sleep-speaking person than for the sleep-speaker. There are no specific methods or drugs that can be used to stop speaking while you sleep; However, with certain steps the frequency of the sleep talk can be controlled and reduced.

Maintaining a healthy sleeping habit can help manage the sleep talk. A healthy sleep habit also includes sleeping at the right time and for the right time. Getting a night’s sleep is important.

Sleep hygiene is also important for controlling sleep conversations and reducing their frequency and severity. The sleeping area should be free of . Rooms with dim lighting, dark curtains, a mattress, and a pillow with clean sheets can also promote a night’s sleep.

It’s also important to follow a sleep pattern with a strict sleep schedule. Sleeping and waking up at the same time can also help reduce sleep talk.

Since most people talk in their sleep when they are stressed, depressed, or anxious, it is important to avoid physical and emotional stress. Before going to sleep, it is good to calm down and avoid stressful activities.


  • Vetrugno, R. et al. (2011) Isolated Motor Phenomena and Sleep Symptoms. In the manual of clinical neurology. 99: 883-899.
  • Alfonsi V. et al. (2019) Sleep Speeches: A Practical Access to Mental Processes During Sleep. Sleep medicine reviews. 1 (44): 12-22.
  • National Sleep Foundation. Talking about sleep: what is it (2020). Available at:

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