September 2020 | Reviewed by: Shelley Hershner, MD and Anne M. Morse, DO
What is sleep talking?
Sleep talking is also called “somniloquy.” It is a parasomnia. A parasomnia involves undesired behaviors that occur during sleep.
Sleep talking is when you talk out loud during sleep. A listener may or may not be able to understand what you are saying.
The subject matter being talked about tends to be harmless. It may also make no sense at all. At other times, the content may be vulgar or offensive to a listener. The talking can occur many times and might be quite loud. This can disrupt the sleep of a bed partner or roommate.
Sleep talking may occur in any stage of sleep. It is still unknown if the talking is closely linked to dreaming.
Sleep talking is very common. Lifetime prevalence is estimated to be approximately 60% to 65%. It is reported in 50% of young children. About 5% of adults are reported to talk in their sleep. It occurs at the same rate in both men and women. It also appears to run in families.
Although sleep talking by itself is benign, it may be a symptom of another sleep disorder. If your sleep talking episodes increase in frequency, emerge at an older age, or are accompanied by other symptoms such as limb movements or daytime sleepiness, you should talk to your medical provider.
In many cases, treatment is not needed. If sleep talking is a symptom of another sleep disorder, your medical provider will treat the underlying condition.