What you need to know about sleep talking

Sleep talking, or more formally known as “Somniloquy”, is a strange experience which happens to many people at some point in their lives. Most of us would have experienced waking up in the morning to our partners telling us the strange things we have said in our sleep. For most of us sleep talking is rare and short – lived, however the condition is most common in children and males.  

Sleep talking can consist of complex dialogues or utter gibberish and mumbling. There is limited knowledge and research surrounding the content of sleep talking. Some talking makes no sense whatsoever whilst some of the content make relate to the individual’s experiences and relationships.

Sleep talking is typically spontaneous or can be prompted by conversation of the sleeper. Usually, sleep talkers are not aware of their behaviours or speech, and hence their voice and the language used may be different to that of their wakeful speech.

Causes of sleep talking

Sleep talking experiences can be attributed to stress, sleep deprivation, depression, day – time drowsiness or fever. Often sleep talking occurs concurrently with other sleep disorders such as nightmares, sleep apnea or REM sleep behaviour disorder.

Severity Criteria

Different levels of severity in terms of sleep talking can take place. These include:

  • Mild: sleep talking episodes occur less than weekly

  • Moderate: episodes occur more than once per week not every night and cause mild disturbance to a bed partner

  • Severe: episodes occur nightly and often cause interruption of partner’s sleep


Generally speaking, no treatment for sleep talking is necessary. However, if the intensity of the sleep talking is at a severe level that is disrupting sleep for an extended period of time talking to your pharmacist about the problem, they may provide you with a solution.

Adam Shakespeare