Night speech disorder

Night speech disorder

Have you ever been woken up by someone talking during sleep suddenly? Have you surprised a family member, partner or friend telling you something while he was totally asleep? Or maybe someone has told you that you yourself have been talking during the night even though you remember absolutely nothing about this episode? Today we talk about nocturnal speech disorder, a very common condition that may have surprised you sometime.


  • 1 What is night speech disorder?
  • 2 Who suffers from night speech disorder?
  • 3 The phases of sleep and night speech
  • 4 Treatment of night speech disorder

What is night speech disorder?

Night speech disorder, also known as somniloquia, It's one of the most common sleep disorders, in which the person suffering from it speaks during sleep unconsciously. This speech can be from muttering without much sense to coherent sentences and sentences, even though the person is not aware of what he is saying. That is, the words that are expressed during sleep in this disorder can be from short words without any emotional content to true speeches of great temporal prolongation and even conversations.

Who suffers from night speech disorder?

It seems that night speech disorder it can appear in both children and adults. It is very common for children to speak in dreams at least once a year and is more frequent in children 4 and 5 years old.

Interestingly, people bilingual who suffer from night speech disorder often use the language they dominate the most when they start speaking in dreams, while those bilinguals who speak two languages ​​equally speak in any of them.

This disorder is usually suffered by healthy people and is usually a benign condition which is gradually resolved, although there is a very strong connection between night speech and other more problematic syndromes such as Sleep apnea, a disorder in which breathing is interrupted or weakened during sleep for a few seconds or minutes. There is also a great connection with the somnambulism, a disorder in which people behave as if they were awake, walking or doing some activity while they are asleep. Another condition with which sleep speech disorder is connected are the night terrors, episodes of intense fear that usually occur during non-REM phases.

In more extreme cases, the speech of spontaneous sleep after the age of 25 may be related to other physical or psychological problems, such as nocturnal seizures.

Some sources even speak of a genetic tendency to experience this type of speech and there are some specific conditions that can cause it, such as lack of sleep, emotional stress, anxiety, depression, alcohol, drugs and some medications.

The phases of sleep and night speech

The dream possesses different phases which are repeated in 4 or 5 cycles. These phases are mainly divided into sleep No REM and I dream REM.

Non-REM sleep is divided into four stages that are followed one after the other in a circular cycle. Phase 1 of Non-REM sleep is a lighter stage of sleep, while in phase 2 brain waves become thinner as well as eye movement stops. Phases 3 and 4 of Non-REM sleep are the so-called phases of deep sleep. In these phases the person sleeps deeply and it is very difficult to wake him up. The brain produces delta waves and there is no eye or muscle movement. Already in the REM phase (Rapid Eye Movement), the brain waves are similar to those of an awake person. The eyes move, the heart rate increases and that is when dreams occur mostly.

It seems that between 20 and 25% of the nighttime talks are associated with REM sleep, being the productivity of the major speech in this phase. While the vast majority of nighttime talks, between 75 and 80%, are associated with No REM sleep.

During the deepest stages of sleep, 3 and 4, the content of the conversations is rather a murmur without connection. But in the REM phase and during lighter sleep, in stages 1 and 2, expressions or dialogues are usually more understandable.

Night speech disorder treatment

As we indicated earlier, normally night speech disorder is a benign condition that disappears over time and does not require any treatment. When this speech is very persistent and interferes with the sleep of the person and those around them, it is when a sleep specialist would be responsible for ruling out the association with other disorders. Some people who live with others whose speech is an impediment to sleep may take measures such as sleeping in different rooms or use earplugs. When this condition is associated with some of the aforementioned disorders, treatments to focus on these will be carried out to improve the patient's quality of life.

Links of interest

Sleep talking? What Does It Mean ?. Shelby Harris 2013. //www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/the-land-nod/201307/sleep-talking-what-does-it-mean

Talking in Your Sleep. //www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/talking-in-your-sleep#1

Sleep Disorders Part II. R. Vetrugno. 2011. //www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/somniloquy