From nonsensical gibberish to coherent sentences, how we talk in our sleep varies from person to person.
While there’s little medical risk to sleep talkers, it can be embarrassing for the talkers and prevent others in the room from getting to sleep.
Sleep talking is one of the sleep behaviours known as non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM) parasomnias. Others NREMs include sleep walking, teeth grinding and night terrors.
As we transition between the different stages of sleep, there can be brief periods of awakening after which most people simply return to sleep. But sometimes there are strong pulls to both deep sleep and wakefulness.
When this occurs, different parts of the brain are simultaneous in a state of wakefulness and slow wave sleep – the consequence of which is NREM parasomnias like sleep talking.
The most common triggers are stress and anxiety, alcohol and drugs use, sleep deprivation and illness.
Sleep talking can happen to anyone, but there’s evidence it can be somewhat inherited. It also appears to affect children and men more often than women.
As both scientists and law-makers agree that sleep speech isn’t the product of a conscious or rational mind, anything you say in your sleep is inadmissible in court.