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Talking in your sleep

Talking in your sleep is speaking while asleep without knowing about it. This used to be called somniloquy.

Sleep talking is a type of parasomnia - an abnormal behaviour that takes place during sleep.

Sleep talking seems to affect men and children more than it does women.

Sleep talking can range from mumbling that makes no sense to complex conversations the person has with him or herself, or monologues.

A person sleeping alone may not know they've been sleep talking, often people only find out when a partner tells them in the morning.

What is sleep talking?

Sleep talking, or somniloquy, is the act of speaking during sleep. It's a type of parasomnia - an abnormal behaviour that takes place during sleep. It's a very common occurrence and is not usually considered a medical problem.

The night-time chatter may be harmless, or it could be graphic, even X-rated. Sometimes, listeners find the content offensive or vulgar. Sleep talkers normally speak for no more than 30 seconds per episode, but some people sleep talk many times during a night.

The late-night diatribes may be exceptionally eloquent, or the words may be mumbled and hard to decipher. Sleep talking may involve simple sounds or long, involved speeches. Sleep talkers usually seem to be talking to themselves. But sometimes, they appear to carry on conversations with others. They may whisper, or they might shout. If you share a bedroom with someone who talks in his or her sleep, you might not be getting enough shut-eye.

Who talks in their sleep?

Many people talk in their sleep. Half of all children between the ages of three and 10-years-old carry on conversations while asleep, and a small number of adults - about 5% - keep chattering away after they go to bed. The utterances can take place occasionally or every night.

Experts think that sleep talking may run in families.

What are the symptoms of talking in your sleep?

It's hard to tell by yourself if you've been talking in your sleep. Usually, people will tell you they've heard you shout out during the night or while you were napping. Or maybe someone might complain that your sleep talking is keeping him or her up all night.

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