Have you ever wondered why you sleep soundly, and your OH will wake you up with incoherent chatter throughout the night? Or perhaps you’re the sleep talker, and you just want to know if there’s ever any sense in the random things your mouth blurts out when your eyes are shut?
"Talking in your sleep is called Solimnoquy and it is a form of a sleep disorder called a parasomnia," Nerina Ramlakham, the author of Fast Asleep Wide Awake, explains.
Sleep talking can happen to anyone, and it’s pretty common for most of us to do it from time to time; some do it when they’re under stress, for instance, or facing a period of anxiety or tension.
However, Nerina says that if you sleep talk on the reg, it’s likely that you have a need to express things that you don’t feel able to say during your waking hours, but are still lurking in your subconscious (the slumber-based equivalent of a bottle of white wine, you might say).
"I see this with people who might be compulsive pleasers who aren't saying what they need to say out loud," she notes. "It’s also common with creative people who are needing to express, draw that picture, write that book, sing that song."
If you’re a regular sleep talker, it’s not generally a cause for alarm: "I don't see it as a medical problem or disorder as such. However, it can be associated with tightness in the jaw and even teeth grinding (bruxism)."
But if you do want to kick your sleep talking habit to the curb? You’ll need to learn how to express the thoughts and emotions that you need to get out, in a way that feels safe to you when you’re actually awake.
Nerina suggests finding constructive ways to ‘let it out’ - singing, keeping a diary, or attending yoga classes could all prove helpful. There are also jaw exercises you can do if you think your sleep talking might be connected to the bruxism she mentions, such as the ‘lion pose’.
"This is when you inhale deeply through your nose, exhale forcefully through your mouth making an AAAAAAH sound while opening your mouth wide," she details. "Hold this for a few seconds then close your mouth and repeat the exercise and this time stretch your tongue out and down. Try opening your mouth a little wider each time."
All of these exercises may prove useful to reduce your symptoms, as can maintaining a regular sleep pattern, but there’s no traditional ‘treatment’ for sleep talking; because in most cases, it’s harmless, and therefore not something that needs ‘curing’.
However, if your sleep talking is causing issues with your partner, or robbing you of your peace of mind (hey, it can be embarrassing to potentially spill your guts every time you get some shut eye), it’s worth speaking to a sleep specialist who can ensure that there are no underlying disorders that need addressing.
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