Sleep talking (often called somniloquy) is technically defined as a sleep disorder where a person talks in their sleep. It is more common in males and children, with a study reporting that over 50% of kids sleep talk frequently, compared to a mere 5% of adults.
Although sleep talking is not harmful, it can be quite annoying for your partner and potentially even embarrassing depending on what secrets you spill. Sleep talking often stems from past experiences or emotional difficulties, and can often tell quite a lot about what’s going on in your life and mind.
One of the key tips to help stop sleep-walking is to have a regular good night’s sleep. The amount of time you need to spend snoozing is down to a variety of factors including; your age, gender and the general style of your life.
To help you create a regular sleeping pattern and minimize the chance of outing personal opinions in your sleep, try to keep a sleep diary.
— Sixty and Me (@sixtyandme) October 30, 2015
Note down the times you went to sleep, the time you woke up and whether you felt like you slept-talked or not (you can ask your partner if they remember). Within about two weeks you should be able to see what works and what doesn’t, helping you to reduce the amount of sleep-talking you do.
If you’re a coffee lover or can’t be without a cup of tea before bed, it may be an underlying cause of your sleep talking. Caffeine is a stimulant and disruptive for sleep, meaning you’re more likely to shout gibberish whilst you’re snoozing.
A study by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) reported that drinking a caffeinated drink even 6 hours before sleep results in sleep disturbance. To maximise your chances of having a full, interrupted sleep (with no shouting!), try drinking de-caff drinks or avoiding them altogether throughout the day.
It’s a well-known fact that stress has a negative effect on sleep, yet people with busy and stressful lives wonder why they’re sleep talkers. Stress causes sleep deprivation, which then in turn causes sleep-talking.
To avoid stress in your life you could practice yoga, mindfulness and other stress-soothing activities to ensure your anxiety levels are low for a good night’s sleep.
The food you eat has a massive impact on your sleeping pattern. A diet of fatty, fast-food junk is not giving your body the nutrients and vitamins it needs, leading to a lack of quality sleep. A good diet is essential, especially when it comes to treating sleep-walking.
According to the Sleep Foundation, ‘good diet’ for sleeping includes food that contains a lot of the amino acid Tryptophan. This is the chemical in your body that makes you feel sleepy and promotes a good night’s sleep. This acid is created in proteins and given to the brain through carbohydrates, explaining why the perfect meal to eat before bed time is a combination of both protein and carbs.
I have to eat cereal before I go to bed otherwise I can’t sleep.
— markie. (@marcailll_) October 30, 2015
It’s not recommended to eat a full, heavy meal before you go to sleep as this puts pressure on the body to break down the food – a small snack best. Some good snack ideas include cereal with milk, peanut butter on toast and cheese and crackers.
One of the most obvious factors for getting a great night’s sleep is to ensure you create a comfy sleeping area. Everything from the lighting down to your mattress needs to be perfect for you in order to drift off to dreamland.
The correct pillows, mattresses and even bedding is key to a good night’s sleep, as well as the environment. Make sure your bedroom is the right temperature (not too hot or too cold) and the lighting is dark. Try your best to minimise the amount of noise in your bedroom to avoid any chances of being woken up in the middle of the night, whilst it being comfortable to easily drift off.
When it comes to minimising sleep-talking, it’s all down to trial and error. Make a note of what works for you in a sleep diary and keep to a regular sleep schedule. You will be having a peaceful night’s sleep (without the gibberish nonsense) in no time!