“I hear the secrets that you keep / When you’re talking in your sleep.” Or so the old ’80s song goes. And now a new study suggests the lyrics may not be so far off: Researchers found that our sleep talk is filled with negative and vulgar words, often directed toward someone. Yikes!
The study, published in the medical journal Sleep, focused on the nocturnal ramblings of 223 participants over the course of two nights during which researchers recorded a total of 883 speech episodes. While 59 percent of those were unintelligible (mumbles, shouts, whispers and laughs), there was still a total of 3,349 decipherable words.
The most frequent word used: “No.” And nearly 10 percent of the time, the talk also included profanity, with the F-bomb showing up the most. Study authors wrote, “Verbal abuse lasted longer in REM sleep and was mostly directed toward insulting or condemning someone.”
So why all the hostility? “The scientists hypothesize that this happens because sleep talk occurs while we’re in REM sleep, which is when we’re more likely to have intense and emotional dreams,” PureWow explained.
Other findings from the study? Men talked in their sleep more than women — and they also swore more. But on the plus side, sleep talkers still used correct grammar, and there were gaps indicating turn-taking in conversation. So at least there’s that! Next time you hear your bedmate yelling at someone in their sleep, just let them. It’s probably better than them doing it when awake!
Read more: 5 Simple Steps to Get the Best Night’s Sleep Ever