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Why do people talk in their sleep, and Can you reveal secrets while sleep talking?

In general, sleep talking is not very common, since it’s estimated that only five percent of adults are regularly affected by somniloquy. Children talk much more often in their sleep. As they get older, however, the phenomenon usually resolves itself. 

Woman sleeping in bed

It is very rare that we speak clear words or even entire sentences in our sleep, since the speech muscles are actually completely relaxed during sleep. This is why we tend to utter incomprehensible scraps of words or individual sounds when we sleep. 

Thus revealing secrets from someone who talks in their sleep is more of a popular film trick.

Why do people talk in their sleep?

Sleep-talking usually occurs during the dream phases. It can happen that people simply pronounce dreamed sentences aloud. But even when the different phases of sleep are changed, those affected sometimes experience the phenomenon of speaking while sleeping. What we tell in sleep does not necessarily have to correspond to the truth or reveal inner needs and long-kept secrets, but, like dreaming itself, is a processing of our everyday life. Exactly which scraps of words emerge and how much is mixed up with the dream cannot be assigned with absolute certainty.

There are some factors that actually make it more likely that you will speak while you sleep. These include:

  • Stress
  • Fever
  • Poor sleep
  • Certain drugs
  • Different diseases
  • Consumption of nicotine or alcohol

What can I do about sleep-talking?

Although sleep-talking does not have any negative consequences for our health, it could lead to problems if you talk more often in your sleep and your partner feels disturbed by it. Following tips can be helpful if you want to reduce or stop sleep-talking. 

  • Relax: Yoga helps your body and mind to shut down and relax before going to sleep.
  • Light meals: It’s recommended to eat light meals at least three hours before bed.
  • Stop smoking/drinking: alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine should be avoided in the evening because they can have a negative effect on sleep.
  • Establish a routine: bedtime rituals such as reading a few pages every evening or drinking a certain tea help your body to adjust for sleeping.


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