Sleep talking or somniloquy is a common problem that affects both children and adults. It can occur every night or just once in a while. It can occur at any point during the sleep cycle and may or may not be connected to dreams. It is usually not serious unless it is caused by an underlying medical condition. In most cases, the sleep talker has no knowledge of this symptom. In cases where there is no underlying disorder, it rarely requires treatment. However, if it is linked to another condition, a physician can examine sleep patterns and suggest remedies for sleep talking.
Establish Good Sleep Habits
The same lifestyle remedies that can be used for any sleep disorder can be used to manage sleep talking. The National Sleep Foundation states that these steps may not cure the sleep talking but they may help reduce the frequency. This includes going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, getting adequate amounts of sleep to avoid exhaustion, and staying away from alcohol, caffeine and heavy meals close to bedtime. Finding ways to manage stress and taking time to do a relaxing activity before going to sleep may help. Reading, taking a hot bath or practicing a gentle yoga or stretching routine in the evening can calm the body and mind and promote a restful night's sleep.
Treat Underlying Conditions
Sleep talking may keep others awake or may include offensive language. In some cases, it occurs with sleep walking and sleep eating. Since there are medications that can cause sleep disturbances as a side effect, it is important to review all medications being taken with a health-care professional. Treating underlying diseases, such as thyroid problems, head injuries, seizures, stroke and other sleep disorders, may help. A sleep therapist can teach coping techniques and sleep hygiene practices if stress or anxiety are contributing to the problem.
In rare cases where sleep talking is affecting the quality of sleep of the patient or family members, or when it occurs with sleep walking that becomes dangerous, medications may be required to promote a restful sleep. Although sleeping pills do not cure the problem, they can promote regular sleep patterns when nondrug approaches fail. They usually can not be taken for periods longer than two weeks and may cause a variety of side effects. There are many medications on the market, and the right one depends on your overall health, other medications you're taking, and whether you have any underlying disease that may be contributing to the sleep talking.