13 Dec What does the sleeping brain say?
Everyone knows a story or has heard of someone sleep-talking which is also known as somniloquy. Sometimes stories of mumbling none-sense and others of full interactive conversations. Sleep talking is well documented phenomenon and mostly seen in association with parasomnias.
A recent study published in the Journal of Sleep investigated sleep-associated speech in 232 adults. 92% had associated parasomnia, primarily REM behaviour disorder or sleepwalking/terrors.
59% of the speech episodes were non-verbal (mumbles, shouts, whispers and laughs). 3349 words were spoken and the most frequent was ‘no’.
Interrogations were found in 26% of episodes and up to 9.7% of clauses contained profanities. Men sleep talked more than women and used more profanities. There was appropriate time in-between phrases with pauses and correct grammar including apparent turn-taking during a conversation.
So the brain can and does function at a high level during sleep with clear similarities between normal talking and somniloquy. The negative, questioning and nasty words that were primarily seen indicate there may be frequent conflicts during sleep-associated thoughts.
Full article at: https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article/40/11/zsx159/4345704