Sleep talking can be bothersome for the listener but it can signal body-mind problems and is downright unhealthy for the sleep talker.

The real cause of somniloquy (sleep talking) is a mystery as many other sleep abnormal behaviours (parasomnia). The condition is also out of the person’s control. Remember this when approaching your partner, child, roommate, friend or loved one with the conversation.

The problem usually lie in bed time habits and sleeping routine.

Speculated causes include: hereditary, fever, emotional distress, psychiatric disorders, medications, sleep deprivation, and substance abuse.

Work with the person to build healthy sleep habits and routine using the following tips.

1. Sleep schedule

Establish and stick to a consistent sleep scedule. Since disturbances in the body or mind could be behind the behaviour, bringing order and routine might restore body function.

Find a bed time and wake time that work for you.

2. Set the environment

Maintain a cool and dark environment at night.

Flactuations in body temperature and light invasion can cause sensory distress. Invest in blackout curtains to keep the room as dark as possible.

3. Cut out alcohol and coffee at night

Despite being a sedative, alcohol can disrupt sleep and introduce imbalances.

Coffee directly affects sleep by blocking sleep and increasing activity hormone adrenaline.

Actually, avoid coffee after midday because its effects last for several hours.

4. Before-bed routine

Establish patterns and behaviours to do right before (30 minutes) bedtime and stick to them. They signal the brain to get ready for sleep and can ease you into deep sleep routinely.

Effective behaviours include a bath and relaxing music, switching off devices and screens, stretching, breathing exercises and meditation.

5. Keep track

Use a sleep recording app to learn more about your sleep behaviour. It can also make it familiar so it doesn’t seem so mysterious and strange.

This can help you discuss it with the other party. This way you can take control of the situation and make handling it easier.

Sleep talking is harmless in itself.

,Pulse Uganda,

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