Sunday, January 4, 2009

Talking in Your Sleep

The Romantics climbed the Billboard charts in 1984 with the hit pop song, "Talking in Your Sleep." The lyrics feature the memorable chorus, "I hear the secrets that you keep, when you’re talking in your sleep."

Each night the song comes to life for many people who suffer from sleep talking. The AASM estimates that about five percent of adults are sleep talkers. About half of young children talk in their sleep.

Sleep talking is a "borderline" sleep disorder. It straddles the line between normal and abnormal sleep. Often it is simply a normal byproduct of the brain’s activity during sleep.

Sleep talking can provide a lot of amusement for a sleep talker’s bedpartner or roommate. Strange conversations. Incoherent mumbling. Funny outbursts. Think of a sleeping Dory muttering, "The sea monkeys have my money," in the movie Finding Nemo.

But sometimes sleep talking isn’t so amusing. The discussion forum at is filled with complaints about it.

The frequency of sleep talking can be annoying. The timing of it can disrupt a bedpartner’s sleep. The language can be offensive or embarrassing. The content of the conversation can even cause problems in a relationship.

Sleep talking also can occur along with a "parasomnia." This is a sleep disorder that involves undesired behaviors during sleep. Examples include sleepwalking and REM sleep behavior disorder.

Sleep talking rarely requires treatment. But you should contact a sleep center for help if episodes are extreme. You also should seek help if the sleep talking occurs together with unusual actions.

So what about you? Have you been told that you’re a sleep talker?

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