How To Stop Sleep Talking?
About Sleep Talking
Sleep talking is surprisingly common. Figures from the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health suggest that it affects around 66 percent of adults at some point in their lives.
The technical name for sleep talking is somniloquy, which comes from the Latin words “somnus” for sleep and “loqui” for speak. Healthcare professionals do not consider it a medical condition. However, studies suggest that those who have been through traumatic experiences are more likely to experience it.
The majority of sleep talking involves simple babbling or gibberish. However, some people can engage in fully-fledged and grammatically correct conversations with themselves.
Around half of all sleep-talking occurs in children between the ages of three and ten. Only one in twenty adults regularly sleep talks.
Most people only discover that they sleep talk when their partner or roommate informs them. Even so, it can be a little embarrassing to find out that you’re chattering away to yourself during the night. Who knows what you might say?
Fortunately, there are several strategies that you can use that reduce the chances you’ll blurt out random sentences during the night. Here’s what to do.
Reduce Your Stress Levels
Evidence suggests that stressed people are the most prone to somniloquy. For instance, when researchers investigated sleep talking frequency in people with PTSD, they found that it was much higher than in the general population. Stamford University scientists sampled more than 1,832 respondents aged between 15 and 90 from the Toronto Metro area and found that those with a pre-existing post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis were more than 2.8 times as likely to have somniloquy episodes.
The International Classification of Sleep Disorders: Third Edition also says that stress can provoke sleep talking as well as a range of other parasomnias.
So what can you do to reduce your stress levels? Here are some evidence-based ideas:
- Get regular massages. Twenty-minute sessions every few days may be sufficient to keep you happy.
- Engage in meditation. Try to enter a state of pure consciousness without troubling thoughts corrupting your inner narrative.
- Breathe deeply. Try taking a few deep breaths in a row by inhaling slowly as much as you can, and then exhaling slowly. This technique can reduce levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
- Smell some calming aromas. Lavender essential oil, for instance, may reduce feelings of anxiety.
- Listen to some music. Pleasant tunes help to regulate stress and balance hormone and cortisol levels.
- Drink green tea. People who enjoy the beverage daily may have better sleep and experience less stress while awake.
Improve Your Bedtime Routine
Modern bedtime routines leave a lot to be desired. Surveys suggest that a staggering 75 percent of adults bring their phones to bed with them and 10 percent go so far as to sleep with them under their pillow.
Bringing phones to bed causes several problems. Answering emails or reading exaggerated news media stories causes stress. And the light handset screens emit primes the body for its wake cycle – the opposite of what you want when you’re trying to get some rest.
There are other problems with our collective bedtime routines too. For example, many people sleep on uncomfortable beds, which makes it difficult to get a restful night. And some have hot and humid bedrooms that diminish the quality of sleep, making parasomnias, like sleep talking, much more likely.
Are you struggling with sleep hygiene? Take a look at these ways to improve it:
- Begin a calming nighttime routine. If you’re feeling stressed, your body won’t allow you to relax. You’ll toss and turn when you hit the sack and be unable to “switch off.” Fortunately, you can side-step this by eliminating all stressors (such as work emails) from your environment a couple of hours before you sleep. Many people make 8 pm the cut-off point. After that, they commit to unapologetic relaxation.
- Stop drinking coffee before bed. Coffee contains high levels of caffeine which is a stimulant that can keep you up at night. If you’re susceptible to it, stop taking it at noon to give it time to work its way out of your body.
- Leave your phone in another room. If you want to read before you go to sleep, pick up a traditional paperback.
- Improve your bedding. Choose mattresses that transfer heat away from your body and keep you cool on warm nights. Also, look for bedding that provides the correct level of support you need.
- Remove disturbances from your environment. The bedroom should be a room in which you sleep – nothing else. This way, you’ll prime your brain to switch off the moment you hit the sack.
Be Consistent With Your Sleep Schedule
There’s mounting evidence that the people who get the best sleep go to bed and wake up at the same time, regardless of the day or season. By contrast, those who sleep irregularly experience greater daytime sleepiness.
According to sleep psychologist Dr. Jade Wu from Duke University, having insufficient sleep can make people slightly more prone to random chattering while asleep, plus other conditions, such as sleepwalking.
For that reason, she recommends trying to wind down at the same time every evening, She suggests always giving yourself enough time to get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. And she says that you should aim to wake up during the same one-hour window every day to keep parasomnias at bay.
Keep A Sleep Diary
If you’re still struggling with sleep talking, try keeping a sleep diary. Keep track of everything you did before bed, such as what you ate and drank, how much exercise you took, and the activities you completed. Then see whether there is any correlation between what you do before you go to bed and how much you chatter while unconscious.
For many people, swapping out their old mattress for a new one is the best way to improve their quality of sleep and, therefore, fight back against somniloquy. It’s a simple and quick intervention that could make all the difference.