Is there a treatment for sleep talking?

This question was asked in Tucson, Arizona on 01/28/2013.
My wife talks on and off all night long while sleeping. Is this a sign of a sleep disorder? What can she do to prevent this from happening? Is there medication that she can take for sleep talking?

Doctors Answers (4)

Jana P. Kaimal, MD, FCCP
Answered on: 4/5/2013 7

Sleep talking (also known as somniloquy) is a sleep disorder characterized by talking during sleep without the person being aware of it. It can involve long and complicated dialogues to simple mumbling or incomprehensible words. It can occur in just about anyone, but seems to be more common in males and children. Most often, sleep talking occurs sporadically, and is relatively short lived in occurrence. Sleep talking can be triggered by stress, depression, sleep deprivation, fatigue and daytime drowsiness, as well as alcohol. There are many instances in which this "runs in the family". It is also found to occur concurrently with other sleep disorders such as Sleep Apnea, Nightmares, REM Behavior Disorder. In more rare instances (and particularly with adult onset and frequent occurrence), sleep talking can be associated with some psychiatric disorders or even nocturnal seizure disorder. Sleep talking is considered severe when episodes occur nightly and contribute to obvious interruption of the bed partner's sleep. Moderate severely cased occur more than once a week, but less than nightly, causing mild disturbance to the bed partner. Mild sleep talking occurs less than weekly. In general, no treatment is necessary for sleep talking. However in severe cases of for extended, chronic occurrence, it is helpful to discuss with your medical provider of sleep specialist. It is important here to evaluate and treat any possible underlying medical cause (undiagnosed sleep disorder, debilitating stress or anxiety, nocturnal seizures etc). Certain measures can be taken to reduce the likelihood of a sleep talking episode. It is important to keep a regular sleep and wake schedule, obtain sufficient sleep, and practice good sleep hygiene. Refraining from alcohol, heavy meals, and practicing some relaxation therapy may help manage the anxiety and stress. For the bed partner, ear plugs may help also.

SomnoDiagnostics, Inc.
Answered on: 2/5/2013 3

The treatments typically include medication and behavior modification if necessary. This is something that you and Dr. Gibson would evaluate and work together to address. We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you, if so please call us.

Robert C. Jones, M.D.
Answered on: 1/30/2013

n all night sleep test should be done first to make sure there is not another cause for the sleep talking. Psychology/Psychiatrist evaluation may discover the root cause, if no other sleep disorder is found. A board certified sleep specialist can review every thing and help decide if medication should be used for this parasomnia.

Courtney Whitney, DO
Answered on: 1/29/2013

Sleep talking is relatively common. It may be noticeably more common during periods of stress or illness (fever). It can also be more common when sleep is compromised by arousal disorders (such as sleep apnea) or during periods of sleep deprivation (< 8 hours). There is no treatment beyond optimal sleep time and quality. FYI: The content of the language has little resemblance of truth.