Sleep Talking

What is Sleep Talking?

Sleep talking is a form of parasomnia, which are abnormal behaviors during sleep. Formally called somniloquy, sleep talking is considered harmless and does not typically require medical attention.

If you are prone to talking in your sleep, you may speak in single words, full sentences, or gibberish. You will likely be unaware you’re sleep talking unless someone else points it out to you.


Sleep talking can occur in both in deep REM sleep and lighter non-REM sleep. In sleep talking stages 1 and 2, you may have an entire conversation—albeit one-sided—but in stages 3 and 4, you are likely to sleep talk in gibberish. The severity of sleep talking symptoms can vary widely, as can the duration of this condition. 


  • Mild: Less than one episode weekly
  • Moderate: Sleep talking occurs more than once a week and may keep a bedmate awake
  • Severe: Episodes happen nightly, even several times a night, and consistently wake a bedmate


  • Acute: Sleep talking occurs for 1 month or less
  • Subacute: Sleep talking occurs for more than a month but less than a year
  • Chronic: Sleep talking occurs for a year or more

The speech that takes place during sleep talking may not have any connection to a person’s life or prior conversations. Sleep talking symptoms may also include:

  • Mumbling
  • One-word responses
  • A handful of distinguishable words


Scientists are unsure what exactly causes sleep talking, though there is some evidence to support a genetic component to the condition. However, there are other possible causes which may include:

  • Other sleep disorders, including REM sleep behavior disorder and sleep terrors
  • Certain medications
  • Stress
  • Some mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression
  • Alcohol and drug use


There is no known sleep talking treatment. However, seeing a sleep disorder expert may help. They can offer ways to help you manage your sleep talking as well as help rule out any underlying medical causes. Here are some things you can do to minimize sleep talking: 

  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid heavy meals close to bedtime
  • Establish a regular sleep schedule and bedtime routine

Learn More About Sleep Talking from Baptist Health

Sleep talking can be conquered. Start by scheduling an appointment with a Baptist Health primary care or sleep specialist today. 

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