Have you ever been told to talk while you sleep? Somniloquie was an alteration of sleep that resulted in the person speaking more or less loudly while sleeping. And this phenomenon is far more common than we might think. However, there is considerable variability when it comes to speech during sleep: some people only utter sounds that cannot be identified by others, while others hold conversations, argue or curse.
It has occurred to many people who “suffer” from somniloquie that it may be a symptom that may indicate a serious illness. But do those affected have to be afraid of going crazy? Or is it already? And then there is the risk of revealing secrets in your sleep that you would rather keep to yourself. In the worst case, without them remembering it the next morning. In connection with this, there are doubts as to whether the somniloquie can be used consciously – for example by the partner – to get answers to questions. Is it possible to elicit information from somniloquent person?
People with somniloquia may speak more than once in a single night, but most often for short periods. Rarely do they last longer than a minute or two.
What is somniloquie anyway?
Somniloquia is a form of parasomnia, a noticeable behavior that occurs during sleep. The activation pattern of the brain areas is different during the day than at night and if there is any alteration in this regard, then people do things in their sleep that are considered “abnormal”. Younger people are mostly affected, but older individuals can also tend to talk in their sleep, especially during times of anxiety and stress, other forms of psychological distress, and with a fever.
Up to 50% of children speak in their sleep, but only about 5% of adults.
Let us come back to the activation pattern of the brain areas : There are much more than just two such patterns, there are countless states – not just “on” and “off”. While we sleep, we go through different phases. There are five in total: the falling asleep phase (phase 1), light sleep (phase 2), progression to deep sleep (phases 3 and 4) and REM sleep (phase 5). REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement, and it is mainly in this fifth phase that somniloquia occurs.
The way somniloquia manifests itself differs from person to person. Sometimes it is reported that the person concerned gives lengthy monologues that are difficult to interpret. In other cases , he expresses emotions, laughs or cries. And there are also cases in which the somniloquent person suddenly cries out and thus frightens his fellow human beings.
Aside from the horror: Somniloquie is harmless and not a sign of madness.
Now we have already clarified that somniloquia is not a disease. Now we come to the question of whether it is possible to have a meaningful conversation with someone who speaks in their sleep. This question is not that easy to answer, because it depends. As we mentioned earlier, there are people who have monologues or dialogues in their sleep, but the interlocutor only exists in their head. However, that does not mean that they are not accessible to real influences – for example a question from a partner. If they ask you a question, they may get an answer. However, whether this answer is due to his question remains unclear.
Relationship problems due to somniloquie
Even if it is very unlikely that a healthy relationship will break due to the somniloquie , it often happens that those affected reap the ridicule of their fellow human beings. Since they usually cannot remember what they dreamed and possibly said, such ridicule sometimes raises doubts in them: Perhaps one asked them something in their sleep or they even disclosed information without being asked that was for no other than them were self-determined. And these doubts become even greater when questions are answered with only laughter. There is no way for those affected to find out the truth without being told.
However, words, sentences, and entire conversations are much more the result of your thoughts than a response to external stimuli. They are produced by the subconscious and may be related to a dream the person is having right now. Even if the somniloquent person answers a question that is actually asked, that answer is shaped by the context in which he began to speak. And this context is completely unknown to the real questioner. Therefore, the answer will usually appear incoherent or confused.
Let’s look at an example of this. A woman fell asleep on the sofa and one of her friends is reading by her side. That friend suddenly hears a murmur, indistinct sounds that she cannot understand. “What?” She asks. The sleeping woman then speaks again, now a little louder and clearer. The friend approaches the sleeping woman, repeats her question and finally hears the words “music in the cinema” . She could now ask further questions about what music she listens to, which film she sees or who she is in the cinema with. But it is very likely that the answers given to these questions will not make sense to you. And finally the phase of somniloquie ends and the sleeping woman no longer gives any answers.
In this example we recognize typical behaviors of both the somniloquent person and the one who can hear what is being said in his sleep. The latter tends to ask the same question repeatedly because he cannot understand the sleeping person’s answers either acoustically or in terms of content. At a certain point he can no longer reach the sleeper with his question, he turns around and continues to sleep in peace.
Now the girlfriend is perhaps not the most “dangerous” listener and those who suffer from somniloquie are usually more afraid of saying something inappropriate to their partner. A name, perhaps, or a whole sentence, describing a situation that could be misinterpreted by the partner. Neither the name nor the situation have to mean anything to the dreaming – who has not dreamed of people who he would rather avoid during the day? Nevertheless, it is believed that whoever speaks during sleep is preoccupied with whoever he is talking about. And that can result in real relationship problems. While such occurrences are unlikely to harm a healthy relationship, they can contribute to existing conflicts.
What can also happen is that the loud language, screams and expressions of emotions frighten those with whom a bed or room is shared and prevent them from sleeping. Those who are light sleepers wake up quickly if their partner talks at night. In this case, both are advised to pay attention to sleep hygiene and to do relaxation exercises: one can avoid episodes of somniloquia and the other can find a restful sleep.
Do you suffer from insomnia? Or do you share your bedroom with someone they torture? In this article, we told you about somniloquie, a noticeable behavior that you can now understand better. If you are somniloquent yourself, now is the time to stop worrying that one day you will reveal your deepest secrets. If you suffer from any other type of sleep disorder, take a look around our site – we have already published several interesting articles on this topic.