Sleep-TalkingOne night this summer, The Wife went to bed c. 9:30 p.m., while I retired c. 10:40. At some point, the phone rings. The phone in the office, down the hall from our bedroom, announces the call: “Call from Smith John. Call from Smith John. Call from.” No message is left. I tell The Wife it’s 12:02.

The next morning, she complains about this interrupted sleep from the phone call. I have no idea what she’s talking about. There was indeed a phone call at midnight on the answering machine, from the 615 (Nashville, TN) area code, though no message was left. Was I talking in my sleep?

From the Wikipedia:

Somniloquy or sleep-talking is a parasomnia that refers to talking aloud while asleep. It can be quite loud, ranging from simple sounds to long speeches, and can occur many times during sleep. Listeners may or may not be able to understand what the person is saying. As with sleepwalking and night terrors, sleeptalking usually occurs during delta-wave NREM sleep stages or temporary arousals from them.

Furthermore, it can also occur during REM sleep, at which time it represents a motor breakthrough (see sleep paralysis) of dream speech: words spoken in a dream are spoken out loud…

Sleep-talking is very common and is reported in 50% of young children, with most of them outgrowing it by puberty, although it may persist into adulthood (about 4% of adults are reported to talk in their sleep).

My late mother used to tell me how, when I was six to ten years old, I would occasionally get up out of bed at night, go to the bathroom, or drink some water, and sometimes even engage in brief conversation, then go back to bed. The next morning she’d asked me how long it took me to get back to sleep, and I’d have no idea what she was talking about. It is very likely that I never actually woke up.

Here’s the link for sleepwalking or somnambulism which is also fairly common in children.


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