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Sleep Talking

Ever wonder why you’re talking in your sleep? No, you aren’t expressing a deep, subconscious desire to initiate an intimate relationship with Mr. Clean. Nor do you have a buried urge to identify as a bird. You are not trans-bird.

As it happens, your sleep talking is probably just random. This is according to the sleep experts at Sleep.org.

Sleep talking is a sleep disorder defined as talking during sleep without being aware of it. Technically called “somniloquy,” talking while you get your zzz’s can occur during any stage of sleep, but it is most likely to be comprehensible to a bed partner during REM sleep.

Talking during deeper sleep (NREM sleep, stages three and four) just sounds like complete gibberish. Talking during any sleep stage can involve mumbles, moans, calling out, or whispering, but it is not considered a product of consciousness. The words don’t have real meaning to the sleep talker; the person doesn’t know what he or she is saying.

Anyone can sleep talk, but it can be genetic and it tends to occur more in men and in children. Most children grow out of the habit; only an estimated five percent of adults talk in their sleep. Some factors, including sleep deprivation, alcohol, drugs, fever, stress, anxiety, and depression can all lead to sleep talking.

Typically, sleep talking is pretty harmless. Unless you share a bed with someone.

Typically, sleep talking is not considered something that requires treatment, unless a sleep mate is chronically disturbed by it.

Or, potentially, if you have a habit of falling asleep in public places — on airplanes, for example — and when your sleep talking occurs you end up murmuring, “Bomb. Bomb bomb bomb death to America.” You should probably look into getting that fixed. Every part of that.

Otherwise, sleep talking is typically not that big of a deal, though it can be a product of other, worse medical conditions such as night terrors. Sleep.org also mentions this sketchy little tidbit about sleep talking.

While not common, sleep talking that starts after age 25 may be related to other medical issues.

Well that’s troublingly vague, Sleep.org. Can you elaborate on these medical problems? Are you talking about sleep apnea? Colon cancer? Allergies? Too broad!

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