Most people know someone who talks while they sleep. Whether it’s a simple emission of meaningless sounds, cowardly words, or even whole conversations in which the subject is even able to answer questions.
It may sound like a strange phenomenon, but it is still understood to be a sleep disorder. somnilochia or somniloquia is very common and is usually not related to serious problems. In this article, we briefly explore the concept and what it entails.
What is sleep apnea?
Somnilochia or somniloquy (both forms are correct) is a parasomnia, disorder or disorder in which abnormal behaviors appear during the period of sleep. More precisely in drowsiness, the subject speaks words while sleeping with a total absence of volunteering on his part.
The intensity with which it is pronounced can vary to a large extent, ranging from whispers to genuine cries. They may even show signs of emotion, such as laughing or crying. These episodes in which the subject usually speaks do not last more than a few seconds or minutes, not having a later memory of having spoken.
The content of the speech alone is intelligible, although sometimes meaningful words and even sentences can be spoken. Sometimes little monologues are put together or it may even seem like they are talking to someone in a dream. And although in some cases people who perceive this speech may even try to ask something of a sleeping subject and it seems to respond to them, they are unlikely to respond directly to the stimulation.
Drowsiness is a very common occurrence in children, being a normal thing although it may sound worrisome. It also happens in adults in an equally harmless way, although in some cases there may be some sort of problem or disorder (for example, anxiety).
What produces it?
Although the process of making people talk during sleep is not yet known and can occur during any phase of sleep, it can be assumed that the mechanism by which drowsiness occurs is similar to what causes other parasomnias: An inadequacy in the activation / inhibition of areas of the brain that occur during the different phases of sleep, especially in phases 3 and 4 of REM sleep and in the REM phase (times when drowsiness usually appears).
For example, during REM sleep, muscle tone decreases dramatically as physiological activity increases, but in people with drowsiness, the areas of the brain that control bucofacial muscle activity remain active and allow the subject to speak in dreams. Something similar happens during deep sleep: muscle tone increases and sympathetic activity decreases.
In what situations usually appear?
Drowsiness is very common throughout development, in children and adolescents. As we grow older, however, it becomes less and less common.
It is common for drowsiness to be associated with other sleep disorders, Such as night terrors and sleepwalking. It can also appear in the face of intoxication due to substance use, in feverish states and in times of high stress as well as in mental disorders such as mood disorders, anxiety and certain dissociative states.
Effects of somniloquia
In itself, sleep deprivation is not harmful, but it can cause social unrest in those who sleep with someone else. For example, it may prevent the partner or mate from sleeping properly, or words, names, or comments may appear and be misinterpreted. Or it can generate fear or worry in the environment (Especially when crying, laughing or screaming occurs).
We can say both this and the idea that something is wrong that some of the people who experience it can avoiding contact with the couple at night or sleeping in the same room, Which can lead to problems in the relationship.
Is treatment necessary?
Although it is considered a parasomnia or a sleep disorder, somniloquy is not considered a pathology and this does not generally pose a real problem for the subject himself (even if it can become a nuisance if the person sleeps accompanied). In general, therefore, it is not necessary to apply any type of treatment.
However, in cases where this occurs persistently or is annoying the use of relaxation and sleep hygiene is recommended, In addition to creating habits that allow effective rest. Proper preparation of the environment before bedtime is generally helpful, as well as avoiding the consumption of stimulants during the hours leading up to the sleep period.
It should also be borne in mind that sometimes sleep apnea is derived from the existence of emotional or anxiety problems, in which case the problems that cause them need to be specifically addressed. It is also possible that the patient is afraid to sleep with him due to the possibility of being a nuisance or saying something that causes problems with his partner, which may require treatment.