HealthMystery of sleep talking, a harmless habit or a sign of looming health risks?

Mystery of sleep talking, a harmless habit or a sign of looming health risks?

What do we say during sleep?
What do we say during sleep?
Images source: © Licensor | Tim Kitchen

9:18 AM EST, January 10, 2024

Sleep talking is a relatively common occurrence that belongs to a group of sleep disorders known as parasomnias. In most instances, we're unaware that we've spoken in our sleep until someone informs us about it.

People who talk in their sleep might babble or mumble, laugh, scream, or even utter complete sentences. Scientific research indicates that attempting to converse with someone who is sleep-talking is fruitless because they cannot provide logical responses.

Interestingly, the most commonly spoken word during sleep is "no," and over 10 percent of sleep-talking individuals resort to using profanity and curses. Research published in "Sleep Medicine" reveals that children are the most frequent sleep talkers.

Experts suggest this is due to the intense brain maturation process children go through at a certain age. Some study findings suggest that uttering words while sleeping may also be connected to breathing interruptions or shallow breathing, a condition termed as obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep specialists mostly do not consider sleep talking a cause for concern unless it regularly disturbs rest, leads to fatigue and sleeplessness, and deprives one of the necessary energy for the following day.

Accompanying symptoms like snoring, sleepwalking, and violent movements should not be disregarded. Sleep talking during the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) phase, characterized by rapid eye movements and heightened brain activity, can also pose potential threats. Disorders during this so-called paradoxical sleep may indicate the onset of Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.

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