What does the sleeping brain say?

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