Sleep Talking: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Sleep talking can be a strange, yet amusing phenomenon that usually occurs during the non-REM stages of sleep. This condition is common in both children and adults and is also known as somniloquy.

Causes of Sleep Talking

There are several reasons why a person may talk in their sleep. Sleep deprivation, stress, anxiety, and depression can all increase the likelihood of sleep talking. Other factors that can contribute to this condition include alcohol consumption, certain medications, and sleep disorders such as restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy.

In some cases, sleep talking may be a symptom of a more serious condition such as sleepwalking, night terrors, or REM sleep behavior disorder. These are usually characterized by physical movements or behaviors during sleep in addition to talking.

Symptoms of Sleep Talking

The primary symptom of sleep talking is talking during sleep. However, other symptoms may be present, including mumbling, grunting, or making other noises. In some cases, sleep talking may be accompanied by physical movements such as kicking or flailing.

Sleep talking is usually harmless and does not require treatment. However, if the condition becomes disruptive or is associated with other symptoms or conditions, medical attention may be necessary.

Treatment for Sleep Talking

There is no specific treatment for sleep talking. However, lifestyle changes and treatment for underlying conditions may help reduce the frequency of sleep talking episodes.

Getting enough sleep, practicing good sleep hygiene, avoiding alcohol and caffeine before bedtime, and addressing stress and anxiety can all help reduce the likelihood of sleep talking. For individuals with sleep disorders, treatment may involve medications or therapy to address the underlying condition.

In some cases, sleep talking may be a symptom of other sleep disorders, such as sleepwalking or night terrors. In these cases, treatment may involve medication or therapy designed to address the underlying condition.

Preventing Sleep Talking

While there is no way to prevent sleep talking entirely, there are several steps that individuals can take to reduce the likelihood of sleep talking. These include:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Avoiding alcohol and caffeine
  • Practicing good sleep hygiene
  • Addressing stress and anxiety with relaxation techniques or therapy
  • Seeking treatment for underlying sleep disorders


While sleep talking can be amusing, it is important to remember that it can also be a symptom of underlying sleep disorders or conditions. Individuals who experience sleep talking should speak with their doctor to rule out any serious medical conditions and discuss treatment options. By taking steps to improve sleep hygiene, reduce stress, and treat underlying conditions, individuals can reduce the frequency of sleep talking episodes and improve the quality of their sleep.


FAQs About Sleep Talking in Australian English

What is Sleep Talking?

Sleep talking, also known as somniloquy, is a type of sleep disorder that occurs when a person talks during their sleep. It can involve anything from simple sounds to complete sentences and even conversations. It’s most common in children, but some adults also experience sleep talking.

What Causes Sleep Talking?

Sleep talking can be caused by a variety of factors including stress, sleep deprivation, alcohol consumption, and certain medications. In some cases, it may also be a symptom of an underlying sleep disorder such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome. It’s important to talk to a doctor if sleep talking is negatively impacting your sleep or daily life.

Is Sleep Talking Harmful?

In most cases, sleep talking is harmless and doesn’t require treatment. However, if it’s causing disruption to your sleep or your partner’s sleep, it may be worth exploring ways to reduce it. Some strategies include practicing good sleep hygiene, managing stress levels, and avoiding certain medications or substances that may be contributing to sleep talking. If sleep talking is accompanied by other sleep-related symptoms or conditions, it’s best to seek medical advice.


1. Bakwin, H. (1940). Somniloquy: Its clinical significance. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 91(4), 365-372. Retrieved from

2. Ohayon, M. M., & Schenck, C. H. (2010). Prevalence and clinical characteristics of complex sleep behaviors in the general population. Psychiatry Research, 176(1), 1-8. Retrieved from

3. Sugerman, J. L., & Scullin, M. K. (2018). The prevalence and nature of sleep talking: A survey of U.S. college students. Sleep Health, 4(3), 273-277. Retrieved from